Salsa Picante!: A Review of ‘Dragons Love Tacos’

“The secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” -Mark Twain

Reading Level: 3.1 (according to Scholastic)

Interest Level: K-2

Review and Comments:

Dragons Love Tacos is about a young boy who learns a few interesting and little known facts about dragons.  The knowledge however comes with an earnest warning that the boy soon learns is quite serious.

First revelation:  Dragons love tacos, but that may be an understatement.  They will happily consume all sizes and types.  The only thing they cannot handle is the salsa that is usually added to tacos.  Salsa of any kind, especially hot salsa, affects their tummies.  The boy is advised to keep salsa away from dragons at all cost even if he has to bury it. Dragons + Tacos = Bliss or [D + T = B]

Second revelation:  Dragons also love parties.  When combined with tacos it is obviously an exceptional experience for them.  The boy decides a party is the perfect plan.  He soon realizes that if he is going to have a dragon taco party, he has to be prepared to spend a lot of time assembling a boat load of food!  He takes all the necessary precautions to make it a pleasant and successful party.  Somewhere along the line he finds some very mild salsa and mistakenly assumes it will be safe for his guests.  The problem is he does not notice there are small pieces of jalapeno peppers in the salsa.  Yikes!  Of course the dragons’ tummies are affected and that promotes the familiar dragon fire. Unfortunately, the boy’s house is incinerated.  All is not lost however because the dragons take responsibility for their indigestion and help the boy rebuild his house while happily munching on tacos (minus any kind of salsa) during snack breaks.

Tacos – Salsa = Safety and Security or [T – S = S2]

 This book is very appropriate for the suggested reading level.  It is also an entertaining read-aloud book for younger children.  The large, colorful pictures include many interesting and sometimes humorous situations. The language in the book is very casual which makes the story easily understood. My favorite line is “Maybe it’s the comforting sounds of a good friend’s laughter.”    Well said,  Adam Rubin.

Possible Concerns:

There are no concerns with this book.

Further Projects:

  • Make tacos.
  1. First, make a flow chart showing the steps for assembling tacos.
  2. Make the tacos
  3. Make homemade salsa using one of the many easy recipes that are kid friendly.

 Late July’s Homemade Salsa (One suggestion)

3 medium-large heirloom tomatoes, chopped/diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (optional, especially if serving dragons!)
1-2 limes, juiced
Salt to taste
Optional ingredients: Mango, avocado, tomatillos, sweet corn, black beans

  • Classify the ingredients of a taco by writing the name of each ingredient on a chart under the labels: fruit, grains, vegetables, protein, and dairy. The individual ingredients of the homemade salsa can also be added to the chart.
  • Sample different salsas. Evaluate the salsas by using adjectives that describe the taste such as: spicy, hot, mild, flavorful, sharp, zesty, etc.
  • Design an invitation to a dragon party. Be sure to include location, date, and time.
  • Write a story about your favorite food.  Explain why you like the food.  Describe the food using interesting adjectives without using the usual words such as good.
  • The story includes some interesting vocabulary for this reading level.
    • Words for the senses: sizzling, crunch, spicy, chunky, smooth
    • These are some words that should be defined for better comprehension: gigantic, accordion, charades, Samaritan, wrecking, and fine.

Catholic Resources:

The story refers to the dragons as good Samaritans when they help rebuild the boy’s house.  Read the story of the Good Samaritan Luke 10: 29-37.  Personally, I would begin the story with Luke 10:25-28 – The Greatest Commandment

The Catholic Toolbox has a Good Samaritan Story Wheel that I think is very good.  It will help children retell the story.


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