Max's Dragon Shirt

Book review by
Karyn Wellhousen, Common Sense Media
Max's Dragon Shirt Book Poster Image
Adults may relate to perils of shopping with kids.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Both Max and Ruby behave badly, and there are no apparent consequences.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that they may not be thrilled with the way Max gets what he wants. Max is briefly lost in the store. Parents and older siblings may relate to the perils of shopping with young children.

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What's the story?

Dragon shirt! Even children with a limited vocabulary can be defiant when it comes to shopping for clothes. Max begs his sister, Ruby, to buy this special shirt with their limited funds. But Ruby insists Max needs new pants instead. Through a series of events, Max gets his dragon shirt. However, his actions and the outcome lack a meaningful connection.


Is it any good?

Rosemary Wells creates adorable cartoon-type illustrations and includes greater background detail than most illustrators who adopt this style; also, each cute story has a lesson. Wells effectively portrays the emotions in the characters' faces, and the illustrations are clear enough to help beginning readers as they use clues from the pictures to decipher the text.

Taken to the store by Ruby to replace his dirty, worn-out overalls, Max insists he wants a dragon shirt instead. It seems obvious that there is something to be learned from the characters' mischievous behavior, but the moral gets lost in all the commotion. Max eventually tries on a dragon shirt, which becomes covered in ice cream, and therefore they are forced to buy it. Max does get what he wants, but not in the manner in which a parent would like.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Max and Ruby's behavior. Was Ruby a responsible big sister on the shopping trip?

Book details

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