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Saturday, June 7, 2014

My Daughter's New Favorite Book!

We're going into the field of children's books today. 

Don't worry - I kept to the fantasy theme.

While surfing through Twitter a while back, I found a tweet by an author that had retweeted a retweet of another author's tweet.

Is it just me, or is this feeling like a story about my cousin's aunt's mother's sister's husband?

image via http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51cPjvwG-KL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpg

How the Dragons Got Their Colors is a children's picture book written by Cheryl Matthynssens.

So what's it about?

One day, a little gray dragon sat on a hilltop and took notice of all the brilliant colors around him. Sad that his scales were so drab compared to the rest of the world, he went to the Fairy Queen for help, and she provided him with the magic to change things for all of dragonkind.

I used a different review approach with this one: My daughter.

She loves magically themed stories, fits the target age group, and gives an honest opinion... sometimes too honest. And unlike with me, no amount of reasoning will get her to change how she feels about a book. The result is an ultra-honest account from an extraordinarily unbiased little girl. She couldn't care less about my opinion in this matter! It's all about her.

As it should be.

My daughter was drawn to the rainbow on the cover, then zeroed in on the contrast between it and the dragons. She wanted to know more, and when I told her she was looking at a book cover, she insisted on hearing the story.

Fine. I thought. I'll read her the sample. I had no intention of reviewing a children's book. Children's chapter books are fine, but I wasn't looking for something at a lower reading level than that. When I finished, though, she wanted more.

"But then what happened???"

I explained that it was only a sample, and I was really looking for something else. 

"But MooOOOooom! I want to read the whole thing!"

Now, how do you say no to that? Sure, I was looking for something entirely different, but when a child really wants you to read something to her, can you really just say, "I don't feel like it," and go back to what you were doing?

I can't.

So I got the ebook. Not only did we get through the entire thing with her sitting at rapt attention, but she wanted more.


I told her that I'd consider it, and the next day, she had me open my Kindle app so that she could read the ebook again.

And again.

She also wanted me to download Not an Egg, which is another of Matthyssens's books. I said no, telling her that she had to have patience. "Maybe later."

"How many stars would you give it?" I asked.

"Ten!" She replied. Then, "No... maybe twelve."

"You can only rate from one to five stars, sweetie."

"Ok, then five."

So... five it is. Judging by her overwhelming good response to it - she made me read it quite a few times - I've elected to give this one Treasured Tome status. It may not have been what I was looking for, but I can't argue with the fact that a child in the target age group is in love with it.

Awarded with Treasured Tome status!

I also have to admit that I enjoyed reading this one, finding the story to be a great teacher on the virtue of kindness. Being kind to others can be quite rewarding, as the little dragon shows us.

This book is definitely a Treasured Tome.

...just as it should be.

You can find How the Dragons Got Their Colors on Kindle, and at Barnes and Noble (sadly, no Nook format).


  1. The plot certainly sounds unique, though the cover art looks like it's the work of a eight-year-old...

    1. In all honesty, I think that could probably be said about many children's books, and the author may even agree that her work could use improvement (Most artists do, after all). :-)

      When it comes to children's enjoyment of art, though, I've noticed that our grown-up opinions tend to be very different from theirs. To give you an example of what I mean by that, most adults would agree that the paintings of Edouard Manet are brilliant. Those same paintings would bore most 5-year-olds to tears.

      I think the best way to evaluate the art would be to do the same thing I did: Have a small child look at a sample of the book with you, and find out how they feel. Children's books aren't written for our age range, after all.

      Like you, I wasn't originally planning on reading this. My daughter, on the other hand, felt differently. So if you *do* decide to try out my method, be ready: my daughter wouldn't let me pass it up, and the same may happen to you!

      While I'd agree with you if this book was written for an older age group, I find that what I look for in a children's book is very different: Bright colors, high contrast, pages that don't feel "busy." Kinda strange how opinions can shift so easily due to slight changes, right?

      Give the book's sample a chance. If you still feel the same way, I completely respect that. Heck, I respect it even if you *don't* give the sample a try... I was iffy about reading it, too, but my daughter completely transformed that feeling into one of total and complete enjoyment.

    2. Oh! One more thing - please let me know when your novel is complete. I just looked over your profile, and WOW! I really want to know when it's published.

      Because... WOW!

    3. That is what we were going for so I am glad you posted this. I wanted simple drawings with dragons that were not your typical fire-breathing dragon. I did not want to present them as monsters. So I choose bright colors and a simple patter. Thank you for the feedback.

  2. Out of all the reviews I have received on this book, your daughter's review is my favorite. I would like to send her the hard copy along with Not an Egg! If you would allow me to send her signed copies, please send me a shipping address and how I should spell her name in my note to her. My email is dragonsgeas@gmail.com

    1. I'll be sure to tell my daughter that her review was your favorite. She'll be so excited!!! And thanks so much for your offer. Conveniently, it came right before her birthday. Inconveniently, life became quite interesting at about the same time, and I've been offline for a while... long enough to not see this in time for it.

      Craziness, right?

      Thank you so much for your generosity. She'll be thrilled to know that her review was so important to you.


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