Genre: Picture Book
Author(s): Adam Rubin
Illustrator(s): Daniel Salmieri
Release Date: 06/14/2012
Hard cover Price: $16.99
Reading Level: 3-8
Read Aloud: 3
Read Alone: 5
Other Choices: Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, If You Give a Dog a Donut, Z Is for Moose
Synopsis: Taco party has fiery consequences in funny dragon tale.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Dragons Love Tacos is a funny, silly picture book with wonderful art, and it's perfect for reading aloud or reading alone. In a lighthearted way, it's very serious about warning kids what not to feed dragons: hot, spicy salsa on their tacos.
- Families can talk about what it would be like to have dragons as a regular part of your neighborhood, as the boy narrator does in Dragons Love Tacos.
- Why do you think there's a tradition in dragon stories and legends of having them breathe fire?
- Do you make tacos at home? Have you ever tried hot, spicy salsa? Do you think you might be adventurous enough to take at least a taste of it?
What's the story?
A young boy, with his cute dog by his side, explains to readers how much dragons love tacos and warns that dragons should never eat spicy salsa because it will make smoke come out of their ears and make them breathe fire. But when he throws a taco party for his dragon friends, he fails to read the fine print on the mild salsa jar: "Now Made with Spicy Jalapeno Peppers." The dragons start breathing fire and destroy the boy's house. Then they cheerfully help him rebuild, and he serves the work crew tacos, because, as the book states many times, "dragons love tacos."
Is it any good?
DRAGONS LOVE TACOS is delightful, silly fun from start to finish. The boy narrator speaks directly to the reader, beginning with, "Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos?" He goes on to explain how they hate spicy salsa and love parties, especially taco parties. The narrator addresses the dragons directly, too, as in: "Hey, dragon, why do you guys love tacos so much?"There's lots to look at in the cartoon-like illustrations, with dragons of all shapes, sizes, and colors socializing at costume parties and pool parties, dancing, playing charades, and ultimately donning hardhats to rebuild the house they accidentally destroy during a taco party. The humor is deadpan and nonstop.
The Good Stuff
Messages: Read the fine print on food labels. There could be an ingredient that will upset your tummy -- or that of your dragon. Also, if an accident happens, good friends will help you clean it up afterward.
Educational Value: Kids learn about taco ingredients, from tortillas, veggies, garlic, and peppers to meat, cheese, and salsa. In a funny way, they learn the difference between mild salsa and hot, spicy salsa.
Role Models: The boy narrator is caring, generous, and responsible. He hosts a big taco party for dragons -- stocking up on literally a boatload of tacos and even decorating with taco balloons -- and tries to make sure he gives his guests only mild salsa. He tries to stop them when he sees they're eating salsa that has bits of jalapeno peppers in it.
What to watch out for
Violence & scariness: After accidentally eating tacos with spicy salsa, the dragons breathe fire and destroy the boy's house. But then they cheerfuly help the boy rebuild it.
Language: Not an issue