I’ve been waiting to get my paws on this picture book and, just as I suspected, it did not disappoint. There Was on Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, written by Penny Parker Klostermann and illustrated by Ben Mantle, is officially one of my favorite PBs. The rhyme is fun, fast-paced, and flawless. And the illustrations pop with color and hilarity.
Synopsis: There was an old dragon who swallowed a knight…and everything else in sight. There was no end to this guy’s appetite. Knights, steeds, squires, princesses. You name it, this dragon guzzled it. But when his belly grew much too large, he did something to feel just right.
This is the kind of picture book that makes me want to write in rhyme. (Can’t you tell from my synopsis?) The meter is perfect, the pace is on point, and the repetition is so much fun. Even on first read-aloud, I didn’t stumble once on the words. That’s a sign of a well-crafted rhyming book.
Reading this PB is just plain fun. Not only do lines repeat in the poem, but with each new tasty dragon meal, a new line is added to the repetition. The reader quickly catches on to this and can easily memorize the lines with each page turn. And the first repeated line that is used on almost every spread is “That’s not polite.” Great kid appeal!
The illustrations are bright, colorful, and laugh-inducing. I especially like the first spread that shows all the knights that have been swallowed by the dragon. A knight’s charred silhouette against a rock is so clever. And another spread that shows only the dragon’s claw as he sprinkles salt on the cook. There are funny details on every page.
Fun, rollicking, memorable. This book is one that I will come back to read over and over again. For all you PB writers, this is absolutely a mentor text. Read it! But beware the hungry dragon…he’s a sneaky fellow!