"We are dragons; we are real!"

This book is very nearly the pinnacle of awesomeness.
Dragons! Jack Prelutsky! Peter Sís! Does it get any better?

Like most kids, I listened to my fair share of Dr. Seuss, but long after I graduated from picture books, I continued to love rhymes. In third grade, we had to recite poetry in front of the class, and I remember poring through a collection of morbid verse looking for just the right grim jewel. I settled on "It isn't the cough that carries you off/It's the coffin they carry you off in." Adorable.

So considering the vast amounts of poetry that Jack Prelutsky had written even forever ago when I was a tot, it is unsurprising that he became quite a favorite of mine. I particularly enjoyed
The New Kid on the Block and Something Big Has Been Here, which I read alongside Shel Silverstein's The Light in the Attic and Where the Sidewalk Ends.

I have to admit that I remember more of Silverstein's individual poems than Prelutsky's. How could you forget the kid who died because her parents wouldn't give her a pony? The kid who refused to take the garbage out? But when I went back and read through the poems a few years ago, I was sad to find that my grown-up self didn't find them quite as enchanting and lyrical as my child self did.

I have not reread my old childhood favorite Jack Prelutsky poetry collections, but when I saw
The Dragons are Singing Tonight on the shelf at our local library (which seems to only stock new books, even if that means only carrying later books in a series) it was so irresistible that I checked it out before even glancing to see who had written and illustrated it.

What a gorgeous book. The lush, lavish illustrations are by Peter Sís, award winning author and illustrator of
The Wall. Each dragon is unique, from the traditional to the digital, sinister, sweet, minuscule, mechanical, mystical, and my favorite... the last one (you'll have to check it out to see this incredible illustration I just want to frame and display in my on my mantle).

And the poetry! Perfect rhymes, impeccable meter, and a vocabulary that flawlessly incorporates words like pallid, incalculable, cacophonous, stratagems, and disconsolate. The poems vary in style like the illustrations, some arch, some wistful, some just plain good silliness. I am sure I would have adored this as a child, and I certainly adore it now. I even just read aloud about BOOM the Thunder Dragon! to my impatient 13-month-old, and he laughed through all three stanzas.

This is a book I want to reread to children, to grandchildren, to my husband, and to myself. Am I gushing enough? More books like this, please. More writers like Prelutsky.
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