Written by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2012
Hey, kid! Did you know that dragons love tacos?
Recommended by: Joey (Illinois)
Who is Joey? Hi, my name’s Joey and this is so much harder than I thought! Chris asked that I give readers an idea of who I am and what I’m all about and now I’m gettin’ all clammed up! Umm, I get really into things? Like, stories! I love good stories! Chris, how’s this? (Note: It’s perfect, Joey.)
How did you discover this book? My friend wrote it! AND it’s a NYT best-seller if I don’t say!
What do you like about it? It’s called Dragons Love Tacos! Also, who DOESN’T love tacos?!
The plot in a nutshell: A boy throws a taco party for dragons
As the title suggests, dragons apparently love tacos. But as much as they love them, they cannot abide spicy salsa. Even the tiniest bit of hot pepper can cause stomach issues, so if you’re serving tacos to dragons, keep it simple. (The book suggests sticking to tomatoes, lettuce and cheese.) In addition to tacos, dragons love all kinds of parties. So, of course, the best party for a dragon would be a taco party! If you’re going to host a taco party, you’ll need a ton of tacos and don’t forget to bury the spicy salsa in the backyard. The boy in the book is having a very successful taco party when he suddenly notices the fine print on his mild salsa and sees that it includes jalapeno peppers. He tries to warn the dragons, but it’s too late. The dragons all breathe jets of fire…and then are kind enough to help rebuild their host’s destroyed house. (But it might not be kindness…their real motivation might be the taco breaks.)
Author Adam Rubin has a delightfully goofy sense of humor that is front and center in this fun book. The premise is silly, but the book invites the reader to be part of the foolishness right away so it’s pretty easy to buy into. Although the book’s narrative seems to be aimed at the boy (and his dog) on the first page, it feels as though it’s addressing the reader, which draws the reader in from the beginning. In fact, much of the book reads like a casual conversation, with questions and answers about the whole dragon and taco situation.
Artist Daniel Salmieri uses watercolor, gouache and colored pencil to fill these pages with multi-colored dragons, about a million tacos and some fun details. I love the variety depicted in the dragons here. They are different colors, sizes and shapes, with different distinguishing features that set them all apart. The same speckled background that I liked so much in Those Darn Squirrels is used here, too, and again, it works to bring out the multi-colored dragons and give the overall picture a cool look. This book is a lot of fun and seems certain to be a hit with kids (who may share the dragons’ affinity for tacos and dislike of spicy salsa).
And what did we learn? What I take away from this book is that when serving guests with dietary restrictions, always read the fine print.