This book was getting rave reviews and big hype because it is illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner Erin E. Stead. It was okay. Part of it is that I expected more and I was underwhelmed. It was kind of ant-climatic, when the day everything is finally sprouting and green definitely has more energy - a vibrance that is not conveyed through the text or the illustration. It started out a little poetic ("First you have brown, all around you have brown"), but then it isn't so poetic. I don't know why the bears were added; it detracts from the main line of the story, although kids may find it amusing. The book can be used in language arts: the anticipated change from brown to green in the yard (one of my favorite moments), is one example of color change in nature. Name and describe some others (dusk, dawn, leaves, the change from green to brown).
I thought I would enjoy the "boy on an adventure" aspect, but I am not a fan of "magical" books, so it was hard to keep my attention on the story of a boy babysitting a dragon and bringing it back to China. I do recommend it to library patrons - especially boys who have been dinosaur fans.