As many of you have picked up over our various recent book postings, Dragons on Dazzle Island has officially released as of a few days ago. This one comes from the same creator behind Under the Sparkling Sea from way back in 2013.
Because I'm a sucker for picture books thanks to a childhood absolutely filled with them, I volunteered to take the review on this one. Head on down below the break for it!
I don't know what kids these days are growing up on in regards to book reading at the early ages, but back when I was a kid it was stuff like The Hungry Caterpillar and The Rainbow Fish. Not only did we read them, we pretty much memorized them cover to cover.
The Dragons on Dazzle Island seems to be a step up from those in terms of complexity. The story is more reminiscent of an episode from the show, but told in a way that would let someone use the art to help set a scene.
That part of the book in particular is something I think a lot of people, especially kids, would like most. The art is incredibly detailed with lots of interesting backgrounds and characters to get lost in. The color pallet is vast, with countless shades of primarily blues in a painterly style. Mary Jane Begin definitely went all out on making absolutely everything as beautifully shaded as possible. Every blade of grass and dragon scale is carefully crafted to "pop out" at the reader giving the entire book an almost 3D looking effect.
The tropical ponies have primarily spiky manes, and while it was a little odd at first in a fandom largely focused on flowy manes, you kind of get a sense that they are supposed to be stylized in that way as islanders. Almost like palm trees or pineapple fronds.
The only thing that threw me off there was how wide some of the ponies faces were when looked at from an angled perspective. They are much more horse oriented, with eyes on the far sides as opposed to somewhat centered like the show. I think this is more of an effect of the 3D design of the ponies though, and you get used to it pretty quickly. The heavy details, especially on the eyes, really make up for it.
I mentioned earlier that the story was pretty similar to your typical pony episode, or more specifically an adventure one. We journey with both Spike and Fluttershy to collect gems for Rarity, and venture off into a completely different problem and interesting solution. We rarely get to see these two interact in the show, and they work really well in this context as both baby dragon and baby dragon enthusiast.
For the kids, it would make a wonderful repeatable bedtime story with lots of easy branches to spice it up even more. It's a very easy read, with fun, yet simple to follow vocabulary and loads of references from episodes of the show. These quotes would be a blast for a parent wanting to pull off some Rarity of Fluttershy speaking while reading aloud.
For us more adult fans, it's a fun little tale and a gorgeous book to put up on display amongst our various other pony related collectables.
Apparently the book sold out at it's Barnes and Noble launch party in a little over an hour, and plans another launch in the town of Barrington, Illinous in the future. For anyone too lazy to drive to the store though like myself, you can scoop it up over on Amazon or on Barnes and Noble with a free poster!