Review of 100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli, by David LaRochelle, illustrated by Lian Cho

100 Mighty Dragons All Named Broccoli

written by David LaRochelle
illustrated by Lian Cho

Dial Books for Young Readers, 2023. 36 pages.
Review written January 29, 2024, from a library book
Starred Review
2024 Mathical Book Prize Honor Book, Grades K-2

This book has grown on me as I read it multiple times for the Mathical Book Prize. First, I didn’t like that you don’t see all 100 dragons on the first page. But then I noted they’re spread out over the title spread and the first page, and the 100 different dragons are each given a distinctive appearance, so you can follow each dragon for however long they last with the group through the rest of the book.

It’s not really a counting book… but come to think of it, early elementary kids don’t really need a counting book. They’re ready for slightly more sophisticated operations and number sense, and this book delivers, in a delightfully silly package.

Here’s how the book begins:

High on a mountain near a deep dark cave lived 100 mighty dragons.
They were all named Broccoli.

One blustery autumn day a tremendous wind blew half the dragons away.

This left. . .

50 mighty dragons, all named Broccoli.

10 dragons sailed away on a cruise ship and became professional surfers in Hawaii.

This left. . .

40 mighty dragons, all named Broccoli.

The oldest dragon and the youngest dragon took a train to New York City and started their own heavy metal band.

This left. . .

So, yes, it’s a counting down book, but it doesn’t change by the same number each time. You have to think a little bit if you want to follow along. Sometimes you have to observe. (“All the dragons wearing sunglasses flew to France.”) And just when kids think they have the pattern down — some dragons come back.

So this is a book that reinforces some basic math, but it’s not about math, it’s about these silly dragons and what they’ll do next.

And at the end, there are 100 new baby dragons — and they are not all named Broccoli. In fact, each baby dragon is pictured, with its name. It reminds me very much of Dr. Seuss’s silly story “Too Many Daves,” but there were just 23 Daves.

And although we’re giving this book a Mathical Book Prize Honor for Kindergarten through 2nd grade, preschoolers will enjoy it, too. They might not be able to do all the math yet, but being exposed to math never hurt anybody, and kids who love detailed illustrations will get hours of fun out of looking at the pictures of these mighty dragons. A whole lot of silly fun!

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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