It starts with a paper dragon.
My 8-year-old recently became intensely interested in origami. Gardens of paper flowers have bloomed all over her bedroom floor, thwarting any hopes of vacuuming. She taught herself (by consulting a library book, naturally) how to fold cranes, and then she quickly adapted the crane design to make a dragon. This accomplishment first occurred at school, and at pick-up time she came marching to the car with a giant folded-paper creation. I greeted her and asked about her paper friend. “It’s a dragon,” she said. “His name is Taco Lover.” Now, maybe she chose this name because it was Taco Night Tuesday at our house, or maybe she is simply always thinking about tacos. (They are a favorite.) But just a few days later, I read in Publisher’s Weekly a starred review of this forthcoming book: “Dragons Love Tacos.”
(This is where you should be hearing that “Twilight Zone” theme song playing in your head.)
I, of course, immediately checked our catalog and found that we had copies on order. I placed one on hold.
This story, written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, reads like an instruction manual for hosting your own dragon taco party, with lots of dos and don’ts. Do have emergency back-up stashes of tacos and lots of mild toppings like cheese and lettuce. Do not under any circumstances provide salsa or any other spicy condiments. Why? Well, let’s just say that dragon tummy distress results in belching flames, and your home might burn to the ground. The cartoonish watercolor and pencil drawings complement the text with a lot of visual humor (my favorite is the seashell bikini-wearing dragon at the dragon pool party).
Is this book weird? Yes. But it’s good-weird, if you know what I’m saying. It strikes that fun, goofy note just right for school-aged kids. Particularly if they love dragons. And tacos.