[An] ever-so-sweet picture book… Joosse’s poetic, lyrical text is chock full of beautifully cadenced rhyme and repetition, including wonderfully inventive rhymes. . . Cecil’s softly textured illustrations have charm in spades, and the bug-eyed dragon himself takes the term loveable to a new dimension. Children will likely ask for this one over and over at bedtime, and may fall asleep wishing they, too, could be snuggled in the curl of a dragon’s tail.
—Booklist (starred review)
Is Joosse paying homage to a classic mid-century children’s author, or just channeling her? Either way, this beautifully bubbly poem sounds a lot like Margaret Wise Brown at her best. . . There are moments of saucy wordplay and reassuring images of steadfast love. Cecil’s stylized, angular figures stand in visual contrast to Joosse’s rounded prose-poetry, but the palette of muted grays and blues is just right for this lullaby of a book.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
With lovely lilting words, Joosse creates a friendship born out of loneliness and tears between a young princess who longs for a dragon and a friendly dragon who dreams of a girl for a friend. . . .A love fest of happiness and togetherness . . . A strong and hopeful tale.
A dreamy nighttime palette of gray-blue and -green oils suits the lullaby mood of a bedtime charmer that should be equally at home with a rambunctious morning group.
—The Horn Book
The fairy-tale setting, lilting repetitive verses, and whimsical characters are wonderfully done. Oil paintings, using a blue, gray, and gold palette, suggest that a toy dragon and three shiny soldiers with swords drawn have come to life, giving an added dimension to the text. This satisfying tale of two forever friends is both a comforting bedtime story and affirmation that sometimes dreams do come true.
—School Library Journal
Joosse is a skilled versifier for the picture-book set, and her creative poetic form is tightly crafted for bouncy reading aloud. The plot is minimal, but the emotions are strong and the celebration of girl-dragon friendship is immense and joyous. Cecil’s signature style, delicate, measured brushstrokes in oil, render the scenes soft and smoky and the figures touchable, a texture that gives surprising depths to the exaggerated, cartoonily drafted figures of girl and dragon.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
The book is bathed like a romance in moody lavenders and deep grayish blues, and its bug-eyed dragon is more adorable than fearsome. Randy Cecil knows how to make even scaly creatures look winsome, and if his oddly coiffed princess is a bit on the homely side, well, that’s kind of a nice change of pace too.
—New York Times online
Barbara Joosse’s LOVABYE DRAGON has a more subdued feel, with softly musical verse and Randy Cecil’s soft, grayish illustrations. The dragon here, too, is less a monster than a big cuddly pal. A yearning princess weeps "many, many tears / so wishing for a dragon / so lonely for a dragon / and they trickled down the stairs" and out the castle door. The rivulet travels into the cave of an equally lonely "snore-asleep" dragon. Woken by a splash of tears, the reptile follows the trickle back to its origin. Great joy ensues.
—The Wall Street Journal