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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Things may not always be as you think. Stories have a habit of ever-changing and the characters become bigger than life with every new change. This is what happens when Simon decides to go on a quest looking for the very scary dragon. Simon’s a young bird and he’s on a mission. He greets his barnyard friends and asks for advice about finding the scary dragon. The best advice he receives is from the wise old owl who sends him along to talk to Clarence. And, guess what Clarence is? Not a dragon, that’s for sure; he’s much too small and Simon’s story has made the dragon grow beyond belief with every telling.
Stephen G. Bowling’s picture book story, Simon’s Search for the Scary Dragon, is part of the Simon’s Tree House Adventures Series. Told in rhyming verse, the plot follows Simon as he sets out on his quest. He greets one barnyard creature after another, all friends of course, and suggests why each friend would be ideal to help him in his quest. But, Simon’s story magnifies with each re-telling and the dragon becomes unbelievably scary by the time Simon meets up with Clarence, who loves to read and is deep in a book (can't find any better characters than a book lover). What he describes to Clarence couldn’t be true, could it: “He has great big teeth and great big eyes./ He has four big wings that are twice his size.” Certainly sounds scary to me. The rhyming verse gives the story a lyrical flow and the bright, colorful illustrations are spectacular, carrying the story along with ease. This book is a treasure, something to cherish for generations.