This afternoon the boys and I walked up the steep flank of Wolf Hill, kicking acorns and rustling leaves with our feet, and climbed the treacherous granite ledge that lets one sneak through a fence into the back parking lot of our local Barnes and Noble. Anticlimax, perhaps, but we left with the book we wanted--the exquisitely seasonally-appropriate Curse of the Were-Wiener, by Ursula Vernon (2010, Dial, upper elementary/younger middle grade, 208 pages, although there are lots of pictures).
This is the third of Vernon's books about a young dragon, Danny Dragonbreath, and his best friend, an iguana named Wendell. And this adventure is perhaps their darkest yet. The titular were-wiener is a Dark Creature of Horror, and it bites poor Wendell, setting in motion a hideous transformation. The two young reptiles have little hope of defeating the evil alpha wurst. Unless...they can find the living potato salad that we last saw, in book 1, disappearing down a storm drain.
But forget my summary--just watch the book trailer (and I almost never ever (this is only the second time) put up book trailers, but I love this one. And it shows you what the artwork looks like. And it's Spooky....).
Me and my boys love Dragonbreath. With dry humor coupled with whatever the opposite of dry humor is*, oodles of charm in the drawings of the reptile lads, just the right amount of grossness (that is, enough to amuse them while not disgusting me), and an exciting story (will the potato salad remember them, or will it attack???), this is a lovely book to put into the hands of the young reader, and to enjoy oneself.
*here's an example--Wendell's mother buys him Periodic Table of Elements bandaids. "We put the pain back in learning!" says the box. Hee hee hee. I would totally buy them.