Where Wild Things Roam

In a lively Christmas crop of books for children, there are dragons, wildebeests, camels, hop frogs -- and a dose of the real world too

The Dragons Are Singing Tonight, by Jack Prelutsky (Greenwillow; $15). They sure are, in rum-tiddly-pum verse designed for surefire (no trick at all, for dragons) recitation. Sample: "I'm bored with my bad reputation/ For being a miserable brute/ And being routinely expected / To brazenly pillage and loot." On reflection, however, he decides that "since I can't alter my nature,/ I guess I'll just terrify you." Ferocious dragonographics by illustrator Peter Sis.

Now Everybody Really Hates Me, by Jane Read Martin and Patricia Marx (HarperCollins; $14). Adults in Roz Chast's funny-because-they're-not-funn y New Yorker cartoons look like blobby 11-year-olds, so she's...

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