Hardcover | November 30, 2013

byKallie GeorgeIllustratorGenevieve Cote

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Spark is a little dragon with a big problem. He can’t control his fiery breath. Even practicing doesn’t help. Will Spark ever be able to tame his flame?
The first book in an early reader series about baby magic animals,Sparkis a gentle reminder that there is a perfect time for everything.

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From the Publisher

Spark is a little dragon with a big problem. He can’t control his fiery breath. Even practicing doesn’t help. Will Spark ever be able to tame his flame?The first book in an early reader series about baby magic animals,Sparkis a gentle reminder that there is a perfect time for everything.

Kallie George is an author and editor living in Vancouver, BC. She completed her Masters of Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia in 2007. She is the co-creator of a series of acclaimed board books, the Simply Small Series, by Paola Opal, author of the art bookMr. M the Exploring Dreamerwith art by Soizick Meister...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:44 pages, 9.29 × 6.41 × 0.41 inPublished:November 30, 2013Publisher:Simply Read BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1927018242

ISBN - 13:9781927018248


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Full of Joy It's impossible to read this book without a big smile on your face. Spark's quest for self-control is described through whimsical text and bright illustrations, with a sweet twist ending. I was a little disappointed when my six-year-old took the book away to read by himself!
Date published: 2013-12-03

Extra Content

Editorial Reviews

“A lovely little book” – Betsy Bird, New York Public Librarian, Fuse #8 Publisher's Weekly: Children who are forever being cautioned to "Be careful" will instantly empathize with Spark, the young dragon who stars in this early reader from George (The Melancholic Mermaid), first in the Tiny Tails series. Like all dragons, Spark quickly learns how to breathe fire; keeping that gift under control is more difficult. "Be careful," his father tells him. "Fire burns." And so it does in the three lessons that follow: under parental supervision, Spark tries to use his fire to toast marshmallows and dry dishes, with undesirable results ("The dishes heated up. They glowed and then... crack! crack! Two dishes broke"). Spark's third trial ends just as badly as a "cloud of smoke" fills his bedroom. "Don't worry," says his well-prepared mother. "Your bed is fireproof." George's simple sentences project Spark's determination and his parents' pragmatic brand of support, while Cote offers playfully childlike scenes outlined in loose, crayony strokes. What's the solution for Spark? It's one that's both true to life and the last thing some kids will want to hear: sometimes these things just take time. Ages 5–8. (Oct.) Quill & Quire: Spark is a lovable little dragon with a big problem: he can’t control his fire. His parents try everything they can think of to help: they teach him lessons from a book, they give him marshmallows to roast (he fries them), they even try getting him to dry the dishes with his flames (that ends badly). None of these ploys work, of course; it’s up to Spark to figure out for himself how to use his ability in a safe, productive way. The story’s construction lends it unique appeal. It is broken up into five chapters that are short enough to suit storytime with toddlers, yet long enough for early readers to feel a sense of accomplishment in reading through them. The harmony between author Kallie George’s beautifully paced, sweetly humorous text and Genevieve Cote’s whimsical illustrations also elevate the simple tale. The handmade quality of Cote’s artwork is particularly appealing. Colours bleed ever so slightly outside the pencil-drawn outlines of Spark, his parents, and his friends (a griffin, a phoenix, a unicorn and a troll). As it relates a story about overcoming challenges, the book exerts a reassuring, calming effect on readers. Any parent weary of potty training a toddler will recognize the parable here, as well as the fact that time and patience are often the only solutions.             Spark is a lovely story to share with any child who is eager to learn how to use his or her own “flame”. Booklist: This first title in the new Tiny Tails early reader series introduces Spark, a slip of a dragon. But despite his small size, he has a problem: he can’t control his fiery flame. In three short chapters, Spark’s parents give him lessons to help him learn to blow gently. They hand him marshmallows to toast, but they’re quickly charred. They give him a stack of plates to dry, but the force of the flame breaks them. They tell him, “Dream about blowing out very gently. Dream about little flames,” but he practically sets his room on fire (thankfully he has a fireproof bed and pillow). It’s only after time passes that Spark is able to master his flame—and he is awfully proud of his accomplishment (“Yay!”). George’s text is fun and playful, while Côté’s dumpling of a green dragon is eager and expressive. This speaks volumes about the difficulties of being patient, and that’s something every kid will understand. Kirkus Review:  An aptly named little dragon has trouble controlling his flame—but, as with Leo the Late Bloomer, it’s just a matter of time. Having read a parenting book, Spark’s Mama and Papa try proactive strategies (dubbed “lessons” in the table of contents, though it’s unclear who learns what, if anything): giving him a bag of marshmallows to roast; inviting him to help dry dishes; urging him to dream at night about breathing gentle, little flames. After these all end in smoky minor catastrophes, Papa promises the fretful Spark that in time he’ll be more in control. Indeed, in an amusing twist, he ultimately succeeds in lighting the candles on his own birthday cake without mishap…and then, understandably, refuses to blow them out. In soft, simply drawn cartoon illustrations, Côté places a family of dumpy-looking green dragons with small but decorative orange wings and ears in minimally detailed settings and endows them with human expressions and gestures. “YAY!” Spark yells at the end. “I did it!” Reassurance for newly independent readers with, if not identical, at least corresponding concerns. (Early reader. 5-7) National Reading Campaign- Spark is irresistible. ... George’s rhythmic text moves along with just the right amount of repetition to build expectation, and gives the dramatic reader a number of satisfying fire noises to make (CRACKLE! WHOOSH! PIFF!). As the story unfolds, Côté’s endearing illustrations provide a whimsical peek into the world the dragons inhabit—which is quite similar to ours, but funnier. There are smiles on every page for both adults and children, including a familiar scene when his parents resort to a book to tell them how to help Spark with his fiery problem. This gentle, amusing story will have children wanting to read it again and again. Praise for The Melancholic Mermaid—also by Kallie George: Publisher's Weekly: Bullying Resources, part of an Anti-Bullying Feature, recommends The Melancholic Mermaid ”Ideally suited for children transitioning from picture books into shorter chapter books. George’s poetic rhythms perfectly capture the lulling melancholy of the seashore.” - Deakin Review  “The delicately detailed illustrations are filled with the bright and varied colors of the sea.” - Little One Books  “The Melancholic Mermaid is a unique and beautiful story of rejection, friendship, and young love.” - CM Magazine, 4/4 stars, Highly Recommended  “This unusually smart and sensitive story doesn’t shy away from revealing the lonely facts of life for misfits.” ForeWord Magazine Reviews  “Make room next to The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling. The Melancholic Mermaid deserves a spot on every child’s bookshelf.” ?Starred Review, Quill and Quire,  “George’s narrative is ethereal and formal, with a voiceover quality that invests the artwork with cinematic flow.” - Kirkus  “The Melancholic Mermaid is a perfect read-aloud for ages 4 and up, or for those who have always wished to meet a mermaid.” - The Faerie Magazine Praise and Awards for Genevieve Cote: Marilyn Baillie Award Winner, 2012 General Governor’s Award for Illustration, 2007 Elisabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award 2005 Communication Arts Illustration Annual 38, 40 et 41 Médaille d’argent, Society of Illustrators, 2001 Finaliste aux Prix du Gouverneur Général, illustration jeunesse (2003 et 2000) Grand Prix d’Illustration Jeunesse GL&V (2000) Applied Arts Magazine Awards (2000, 1999) Society of Publication Design (1998) Advertising & Design Club of Canada (1999, 1997) Médaille d’argent, Studio Magazine Awards (1996) Society of Newspaper Design (1994, 1992) Grand prix du magazine québécois, (1994) Médaille d’argent, CAPIC Awards (1994) Médaille d’or, Studio Magazine Awards (1993)