This was another hard choice, because picture books usually have gorgeous covers. I chose this one because Marmaduke is such a cute orange dragon, and the golden stars sparkle. DG(5) agreed that it was a beautiful cover.
Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon: Rachel Valentine & Ed Eaves (Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2014)
This is one of those special books celebrating individuality and non-conformity that I adore, and it’s a great story beautifully illustrated so ticks every box for me as a parent, and for my children as voracious devourers of good stories.
Marmaduke is different. He’s orange where all the other dragons are purple; he has sticky-out scales where all the other dragons are smooth; he has big ears where all the other dragons have small ears. He also doesn’t like to fly, for reasons that are completely given away on the front cover (I do think it is a beautiful cover, and it attracts you to the book, however it does ruin the ‘surprise’, but as children read books so many times, surprises never last long!)
He wants to protect a princess like all the other dragons, but the princesses reject him “My daddy’s getting a real dragon…”, as do all the other dragons. Meg is different too. She’s a princess but nothing like the others, and she does things her own way (I love her already!) but this does put her in a spot of bother (good lesson for small children – there are times when conforming is slightly useful, like not running into roads or disappearing off where nobody knows you are…) Fortunately Marmaduke’s big ears come into their own, so Marmaduke and Meg conform to the princess-dragon protector stereotype – hold on, no no, this is a great book, so Marmaduke and Meg continue to be different together, as friends.
Absolute perfection on many levels, and with a double spread full of sparkling gold stars this is a stunning book that I want to give to all little princes and princesses everywhere. We love Marmaduke.
Disclosure: Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon received for review from Bloomsbury Children’s Books.