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Dragons Love
by Stephen Parlato
AGES: 3 & up
PAGES: 44
SIZE: 8.5 x 11.5
RIGHTS: World
PRICES: US $16.95, Cdn $18.95
HARDCOVER: 978-1-897476-18-5

Publisher's Weekly

Dramatic and surreal, Parlato's (The World That Loved Books) dragon collages, made up of repeated and sometimes distorted images, take center stage in this work. “Dragons love flowers, their colors and perfumes,” he writes, as the corresponding spread shows a dragon composed of flaming parrot tulips and sunset-colored birds of paradise. Succeeding spreads show more dragons, their claws, snouts, wings and tails made up of rainbow hues of beetles, seashells, leaves, mushrooms—even flags of the world. The creatures recall Fabergé eggs, gilded, bejeweled and adorned with calligraphic swirls and coils. The rambling free verse is a collage, too, in which medieval-sounding expressions (“Dragons love mushrooms.... They know to choose carefully the ones they eat... lest poison be their fate”) rub shoulders with modern colloquialisms (“then [they] boogie on back to their caves”), not always to pleasing effect. There's an inspirational quality to Parlato's text (“And what Dragons love most of all on this Earth... are children like You, who still believe in dragons and great deeds in great need of doing”), but it largely feels incidental to the baroque richness of Parlato's artwork. Ages 5–up.(Oct.)

 

Kirkus Review

"The World has not always loved dragons, / but Dragons have always loved the world." So begins this fascinating tour of stunning dragons fashioned with intricate collage. Each double-page spread showcases a dragon created by a painstaking assemblage of detailed pictorial parts of the objects it admires. Frequent rhyme and occasionally playful wording help clue readers to the myriad items used to create the mesmerizing creatures. From the organic, with flowers, hummingbirds and eggs, to the man-made, with fabric, stained glass and books, Parlato produces a series of visual masterpieces sure to delight dragon aficionados and further impress fans of The World that Loved Books (2004). A feast for the eyes best taken one picture at a time, this book could become an inspiration for exercises in creative writing, crafting or wild imagination. The only thing remiss is the book's overall lack of flow -- especially the uneven verses that make up the text. But this is a small flaw for a title that aims to encourage "big dreams still worth pursuing." (Picture book. 5-12) 

 

Resource Links

There are few words that can be used to describe the visual splendor of Dragons Love. Written in a lyrical fashion, with all the mystique of the ancient world, this book is simply about all the things that dragons love. What makes Dragons Love far from simple however is the exquisite artwork that Parlato has employed. The artist has created unique illustrations of dragons by using a collage of objects such as lizards and snakes as well as more obscure things like scary stores. From beautiful seashells to hummingbirds to treasure, no page is ever dull. Each majestic dragon is aptly partnered with a short verse. Much more than a scavenger hunt, children can feast on this book as they try to figure out what item has been used to create each dragon. 

Dragons Love is a great book for children from grades 1 o 3. 

Thematic Links: Dragons; Art

 

Review from the Faerie Magazine

The artwork in the picture book, Dragons Love, can be summed up in one word -- amazing. Stephen Parlato's use of everyday objects to design the fantastic mythical beasts is incredible. From snake skins to mushrooms, flowers to birds, all types of themed dragons scrawl their way across the pages of this book. The rhyming text seems a bit forced at times and is more descriptive than story-line, but if you love dragons and unique artwork, Dragons Love is a winner. My favorite: the dragon made from the shining parts of suits of armor left behind, of course. But the book dragon is a close second. 

 

Modern Babies & Children

Instead of breathing fire, the strikingly detailed, collage-formed dragons in Dragons Love shed light on what they love — including the beauty and fragility of nature and animals, the power of books and the importance of family, friends and pets. Each double page spread introduces a different type of dragon created from an intricate collage of images that match the message shared. More than 100 leaves of different shapes, stages of life and colors twist, curl and overlap into a pensive dragon that shares, “Dragons love leaves that offer summer shade and then slip from branches to the ground — wordless poems about the fragile beauty all around.”

Each dragon typically started as a 40x60 inch collage and then was photographed

and shrunk down to page size. There is as much for parents and grandparents to

discover in each collage as for children. Baltimore author and illustrator, Stephen

Parlato, hopes the dualities of using familiar images to form the dragons will

allow readers to “carry away the idea that … within the familiar objects of the

world, what you think you know, that there is always room for transformation.”

“I’m hoping to inspire little knights who aren’t fighting dragons but are fighting for the

causes of the environment and the planet,” describes Parlato, who dedicates the tale to

“the children who will grow up and save the world.”

Parlato has spent the last 16 years working as a local mental health counselor for young adults and also serves as an artist in residence at area schools. He leads entire student bodies through the process of creating large-scale collage series, which are both displayed and used for school fundraisers.

A longtime dragon fan, Parlato believes that despite often being cast as villains, dragons are “great ambassadors of the imagination.” His dragon theme for this book evolved from the response from readers and critics to a single dragon collage that appeared in his first children’s book, The World that Loved Books, also done in collage.

A third book, Dragons Love Art, is in the works. To see more of Parlato’s artwork, visit stephenparlato. com.