Dear Komodo Dragon

Kirkus Reviews - December 2017

A little girl has an unusual pen pal—a Komodo dragon. As they exchange letters, she learns about this endangered species and is spurred to action...Through their correspondence, Les (and readers) gets to know Komo better and wants to help protect his species. Using colored pencils in warm tones, Klein, an experienced nature illustrator/artist, accurately details the textures, patterns, shades, and shapes of the natural world. Backmatter offers fun facts about Komodo dragons and concrete suggestions on how to help save them from extinction.

Peppered with childlike humor and told from a kid’s perspective, this book is both enjoyable and informative for budding wildlife conservationists.

Midwest Book Review - April 2018

Lots of children have pen pals but one little girl has a real-life dragon a Komodo dragon for a pen pal! Leslie plans to be a dragon hunter when she grows up. When she and Komodo become pen pals, the wise-cracking dragon adds a generous helping of humor to letters that are chock full of accurate, interesting facts. Leslie learns not only about the world's largest lizard, but also about the dangers they face. As their friendship builds, will Leslie change the way she thinks about dragons? Deftly written by Nancy Kelly Allen and very nicely illustrated by Laurie Allen Klein, "Dear Komodo Dragon" is a picture book story that also includes a 4-page 'For Creative Minds' section in the back of the book, as well as a 30-page cross-curricular 'Teaching Activity Guide' online. "Dear Komodo Dragon" is vetted for accuracy by experts and is specifically designed to encourage parental engagement. Its extensive back matter helps teachers with time-saving lesson ideas, provides extensions for science, math, and social studies units, and uses inquiry-based learning to help build critical thinking skills in young readers. The Spanish translation supports ELL and dual-language programs. The interactive ebook reads aloud in both English and Spanish with word highlighting and audio speed control to promote oral language skills, fluency, pronunciation, text engagement, and reading comprehension. A very special, unique, educational and entertaining picture book for children ages 5 to 8, "Dear Komodo Dragon" is unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections.

Children's and Young Adult Book Review Board of Missouri

Ever written to a dragon? Lee does, because her penpal Komo is a monster Komodo dragon. She even learns about Komodo dragons. The get to know each other and she starts to like him, but then he gets attacked! She starts to worry -- did he escape? Soft greens, browns, and blues show Komo on his island and Lee in her house and yard. The back pages include a lot of information about Komodo dragons.
-Submitted by: Landen B.

Puget Sound Council for the Review of Children's and Young Adult Literature - December 2019

The letter format is fun and can be used as a model for letter writing—a good format for both learning to write letters and present information in a different format. Additional sections at the end provide cross-curricular activities for creative minds page, a page on conservation information, and a page defining and outlining physical and behavioral adaptations identification.

Kids Book Buzz - June 2018

This book is about Komodo dragons. Komo is a Komodo dragon. Leslie is his pen pal. She’s a human. She thinks he’s a dragon, and she wants to be a dragon hunter. She asks if he breathes fire. She learns facts about Komodo dragons from Komo. She doesn’t want to be a dragon hunter by the end of the book. She takes the wings off her stuffed dragon, and she doesn’t dress like a knight...I like the pictures. They are my favorite part. I didn’t know Komodo dragons had a third eye to sense when light changes. I can’t see where it is. Another cool fact is they spit poison. I liked learning facts through the letters. I liked the activities in the book.

Mom Read It - December 2017

The dialogue is often humorous; very tongue-in-cheek, and we see Les go from a girl dressed like a knight and ready to fight a dragon to someone who understands the threats Komodo dragons live with, be it from other, bigger dragons or from man. The artwork is soft, yet realistic; the letters appear on each spread, over the artwork, almost scrapbook-like in format. Kids will enjoy learning through the dialogue between dragon and human.

Heck of a Bunch - March 2018

Although I don't care to ever encounter one, I find Komodo dragons to be interesting. Dear Komodo Dragon gives all sorts of facts about these creatures, but with a fun spin...I really like the "pen pal" concept and thought it was engaging. Kids will learn fascinating facts about komodo dragons.

Our Everyday Harvest - March 2018

We love fiction books that offer an educational lesson to be learned and this one shares plenty of information about Komodo Dragons. We learned abou what it's like for them as babies, as well as their...up...unappetizing dietary choices. Let's face it, Komodo Dragons are not the most glamorous of creatures, but they are quite interesting, nonetheless. This book offers important facts and information about them, while also creating a fun learning experience for kids as they read the humorous dialog in the letters that are written back and forth between Komo and Leslie.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 - April 2018

Dear Komodo Dragon is the fictional story of two pen pals…a girl and a komodo dragon. Leslie plans to be a dragon hunter when she grows up so she writes to a real life dragon to learn a few things. The letters from the dragon are funny and full of accurate, interesting facts. Readers learn not only about the world’s largest lizard, but also about the dangers they face. As their friendship builds, will Leslie starts to think dragon hunting might not be such a good idea. This book is a cute story and one I certainly never would have thought of! Now my girls want a pen pal…and they are more interested in real life dragons and all because they read this book.

Children's Literature Review, Ohio School Leadership Foundation & University of Cincinnati SDI Center - June 2018

Fun way to learn interesting facts about Komodo Dragons and letter writing.

Archimedes Notebook - August 2018

The illustrations are fun - I especially like Leslie's drawings of dragons, and the dragon-hunting tunic she wears. But when Komo is injured by a bigger dragon, Leslie realizes that she cares about her big reptilian friend too much to hunt him down. "What can I do to help you and other Komodo dragons?" she writes. Komo replies, and the conversation on that topic is carried into back matter where there's a page about conservation. There is a fun page of dragon facts "by the numbers" and information on adaptations.

More to the Story - October 2018

Laurie Allen Klein’s illustrations, like the text, are realistic but still imaginative, and provide depth to the characterizations and supporting detail for the information in the text. I especially appreciated the added dimension she provided in, for example, the labeled drawings of various kinds of dragons displayed on pages 6-7. It’s evidence that every opportunity, every space and moment in the book, was used to add value for the reader.

I think my grade-school self would have welcomed this book with relief and interest. Dear Komodo Dragon is both fiction and nonfiction, a science story that deserves to be called both “science” and “story.” Bright pictures, clean text, engaging characters, and that plot twist I mentioned above all come together to make a good day in the classroom, or in your favorite reading nook at home.

All About Books with Janet Squires - March 2019

The end of the book contains a CREATIVE MINDS section that provides additional information. Dragons by the Numbers highlights facts such as: Komodo dragons can go 1 month without eating and can live 30 years. Conservation discusses the efforts of scientists, in Indonesia and zoos around the world, to protect these rare creatures. Physical and Behavioral Adaptations defines both terms and provides examples of each. It also challenges readers to identify which traits are physical and which are behavioral. Recommended as a fun and informative read to include in STEM home and school libraries.