Written & Illustrated by: Pija Lindenbaum
Translated by: Elisabeth Kallick Dyssegaard
Originally published in Sweden
Published in America in 2006
Genre: Picture Book, Fantasy
Grade Level: PreK-2
Summary: Owen is a little boy who loves wearing a dragon head. One day his mother wakes up as a dragon, having forgotten how to behave like a mom. They get into all kinds of situations, from a zookeeper trying to capture her to shooting flames around a park. The next day Owen’s mother wakes up perfectly normal.
The Good: I was first attracted to this book by both the cover and the title. I was looking for a good fantasy book to review, and this looked like it would be a good one.
While not my favorite, the illustrations in this book were fairly good. I did enjoy the colors Lindenbaum used, and I thought the scenery illustrations were nice as well.
The Bad: Unfortunately, I did not enjoy this book as much as I had hoped. The writing felt somewhat awkward. I don’t know whether this was because of the translation, or if the original text was just as awkward. Part of the problem was the shortness and simplicity of the sentences. Given the grade level of this book it wouldn’t be a problem, but each page contained a lot of text so it ended up being awkward.
Final Thoughts: The story idea itself (the mom turning into a dragon for a day) is great, but I felt it was executed poorly. The writing felt really awkward and it was not enjoyable to read.
I give When Owen’s Mom Breathed Fire two stars.