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Belinda''s pet dragon, Custard, has fire-breathing skills galore but a coward''s heart, until an irate pirate breaks into Belinda''s house and Custard figures out a way to save Belinda and her pet cat.

Amazon.com Review

Do you remember brave Belinda and her "realio, trulio, little pet dragon"? This Ogden Nash classic has been a favorite of children for more than 60 years and until recently was unavailable in a picture-book version. Artist Lynn Munsinger has rejuvenated the poem with her chuckle-inducing illustrations of no-nonsense Belinda and the cowardly green and purple dragon Custard. Belinda was a brave role model for young girls back when females weren''t encouraged to stand up for themselves, and Custard''s hidden reserve of strength has no doubt inspired children for several generations. Hooked on Custard? The next adventure unfolds in , which followed this popular picture book. (Ages 3 to 8)

From Publishers Weekly

The late Ogden Nash''s (Custard and Company) wordplayful 1936 rhyme gets a fresh start with timeless illustrations by Munsinger (Ho for a Hat!; One Hungry Monster). Title character Custard, the "realio, trulio little pet dragon," lives with young Belinda, her dog Mustard, her cat Ink and her mouse Blink; while these housemates boast of their brave deeds, cowardly Custard cries for "a nice safe cage." Yet when a pirate invades their home, the smaller pets desert Belinda ("Ink trickled down to the bottom of the household,/ And little mouse Blink strategically mouseholed"), and Custard courageously saves the day. Munsinger''s watercolor-and-ink cartoons have a classic quality: Ink the cat appears Victorian, and there''s a trace of John Tenniel''s designs in pug-nosed, striped-hose-wearing Belinda. Custard is a little more up to date?like a lime-green beanbag with slender purple wings?and his moment of bravery reminds "fearless" readers of the purpose of guardians in a sometimes scary world. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 4-8. Munsinger does an appealing job of catching the mix of wry humor and affection that has made Ogden''s whimsical poem a favorite with audiences young and old for 60 years. "Belinda lived in a little white house, / With a little black kitten and a little gray mouse, / And a little yellow dog and a little red wagon, / And a realio, turlio little pet dragon." Called Custard because of his cowardice, the dragon is teased unmercifully by Belinda ("brave as a barrelful of bears") and her other supposedly courageous animal friends until a pirate frightens everybody but self-effacing Custard, "who gobbled him, every bit." At first, there seems to be nothing extraordinarily fresh about Munsinger''s watercolor interpretation: Custard looks as dragons should (a little bit paunchy and a nice shade of green), as does the pirate, with his peg leg, tri-cornered hat, and red-and-white T-shirt. Yet the pictures are full of energy and expression, strong and lively enough not to be overwhelmed by the bouncy cadence of the verse. In fact, they have a genuine warmth and humor that will quickly make this version of Nash''s poem a favorite. Stephanie Zvirin

Review

The Tale Of Custard The Dragon
-- Table of Poems from

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4.7 out of 54.7 out of 5
187 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Shannon
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A wonderful story with lots of big words
Reviewed in the United States on April 22, 2014
I originally purchased this book for my nephew when he was 4 years old (10 years ago). It has become a family favorite so I went hunting for a copy for own 4 year old. It has a wonderful theme (being brave does not mean being unafraid) and the amount of gore is perfect... See more
I originally purchased this book for my nephew when he was 4 years old (10 years ago). It has become a family favorite so I went hunting for a copy for own 4 year old. It has a wonderful theme (being brave does not mean being unafraid) and the amount of gore is perfect for a 4 year old boy. That said, I would recommend waiting until your child is old enough to handle a wee bit of gore and some very big words. We spent the first several readings having to stop frequently to define words.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

The story: Custard is a very timid dragon who lives with a young girl, her dog, her cat, and her mouse. He is not fierce and is afraid of everything and his mates are always teasing him for it. Then one day, a pirate attacks the young girl. Her dog, cat and mouse all run away to save themselves. Custard, however, in a very startling turn of events, eats the pirate and saves his friend.
3 people found this helpful
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amazon3131
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Just because you *say* you''re brave (or not)
Reviewed in the United States on October 2, 2007
Spoiler alert: So many apparently gullible readers have reviewed this poem, that I''m going to tell you the entire plot. If you want to be surprised, then just move on to the next review. (1) Belinda and three other pets *say* that they''re very brave. Custard... See more
Spoiler alert: So many apparently gullible readers have reviewed this poem, that I''m going to tell you the entire plot. If you want to be surprised, then just move on to the next review.

(1) Belinda and three other pets *say* that they''re very brave. Custard the Dragon *says* that he''d rather live some place safe. Based on what they *say* about themselves, the four "brave" characters tease the one "cowardly" character.

(2) When a pirate breaks into the house, the four "brave" characters instantly turn tail and run away. Cowardly Custard, however, stands his ground during the attack and ends up eating the pirate.

(3) Once the danger is past, all the so-called brave characters come back and thank Custard.

(4) Ultimately, however -- and this is more like the real world than a fairy tale -- Belinda and the "brave" pets go back to their habit of saying that they''re really brave, and Custard goes back to saying that he''d really rather live in a nice safe place.

This poem is an interesting bit of commentary on our own willful blindness to our faults, our narcissistic dependence on erroneous self-talk, and one of our stupider working definitions of bravery.

This book is an excellent opportunity for you to talk to your kids about the difference between what people *say* and how they behave. Who''s really the brave character after all? Is it always safe to trust a person''s self-description? Is there anything wrong with Custard preferring security to danger? If you were there, would you want to tease Custard, or to tell that self-deceived Belinda to put a sock in it? If you saw someone picking on another person on the playground just because they''re different, then should you be ganging up with the Belindas of the world, or sticking up for the Custards?

If you''re at all familiar with the parable of the two sons in the vineyard (see Matthew 21:31''s "Which of the two did his father''s will?" question), then you won''t have any trouble figuring out the difference between Belinda''s brave words and Custard''s brave actions. This poem may be beyond the ken of a two year old, but it shouldn''t have been so confusing for so many adult reviewers. Just repeat after me: "Actions speak louder than words," and "Do not believe everything you hear."
41 people found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing Custard story
Reviewed in the United States on June 18, 2019
The language and rhymes are much LESS pleasing in this book than in the second Custard book, Custard the Dragon and the Wicked Night, which is a wonderful, whimsical book. This first Custard book lacks charm!
2 people found this helpful
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F. Morris Rosman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fabulous books for kids (and their grown-ups)
Reviewed in the United States on January 6, 2020
I first read this poem a zillion years ago and loved it. Ogden Nash deserves sainthood! Grab a kid or two and read this together, it''s one book where the illustrations AND the words are equally fantastic. Do you speak English? Then buy this book! Trust me, I''m a... See more
I first read this poem a zillion years ago and loved it. Ogden Nash deserves sainthood! Grab a kid or two and read this together, it''s one book where the illustrations AND the words are equally fantastic. Do you speak English? Then buy this book! Trust me, I''m a librarian.
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David A. Tillman Retired Engineer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Fantastic story, fantastic author (Ogden Nash)
Reviewed in the United States on June 4, 2019
This story, a poem, was written in about 1936 and was originally purchased by our family in about 1940. I purchased the book, illustrated in the 1990''s, to give to several young people just learning stories. The story itself is about Belinda, her dog, cat, mouse, and... See more
This story, a poem, was written in about 1936 and was originally purchased by our family in about 1940. I purchased the book, illustrated in the 1990''s, to give to several young people just learning stories. The story itself is about Belinda, her dog, cat, mouse, and cowardly dragon--Custard. All of the others made fun of Custard but, when the chips were down it was Custard who dispatched (and ate) a marauding pirate. The story is great, and well illustrated. The poetry is also great. In our family the story is being told and retold on its 4th generation (I memorized it 50 years ago for my son, nieces, and nephews). It is a book that can be used to teach reading and to entertain many young kids.
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Cathy
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Love the ORIGINAL Custard
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2014
The book arrived on time and in perfect condition. The illustrations are cute and whimsical. However, the poem is not the original...sigh of disappointment. An extra stanza or two has been added ...another sigh of disappointment. I don''t understand why Ogden Nash''s work... See more
The book arrived on time and in perfect condition. The illustrations are cute and whimsical. However, the poem is not the original...sigh of disappointment. An extra stanza or two has been added ...another sigh of disappointment. I don''t understand why Ogden Nash''s work needed the addition and feel the tweaks did nothing to improve upon an already wonderful poem. I wish the description on Amazon would have included a heads up letting buyers know of the changes.
12 people found this helpful
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Ed
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Loved this poem since my Mom read it to me some 70 years ago.
Reviewed in the United States on March 14, 2020
Same wonderful poem. Kids like it as much as I did when a little one - and I never stopped enjoying it. Read to our kids and now the grand kids. Fun illustrations.
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A very good children''s poem
Reviewed in the United States on August 20, 2019
It was a beautiful little book. I fell in love with that poem when I was about 9 years old. (61 years ago). It was a wedding gift to my granddaughter.
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Top reviews from other countries

Linden Ryuujin
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My kids love this poem and have it in a collection so ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 6, 2017
This is for this is for the "Candlestick Press" edition. My kids love this poem and have it in a collection so I thought I''d get it as a standalone book. However this is not a book you could give a young a child - it would quickly be destroyed by a three year old....See more
This is for this is for the "Candlestick Press" edition. My kids love this poem and have it in a collection so I thought I''d get it as a standalone book. However this is not a book you could give a young a child - it would quickly be destroyed by a three year old. It even comes with an envelope saying "alternative to a card" which seems about right. The art is fine, very colourful but it''s a series of stamps at the bottom of the page rather than full pages images as you might expect. The poem itself is excellent, but this item really needs a better description as right now you dont know quite what you''re getting and might have the wrong expectations.
2 people found this helpful
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Hawkster
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
My favourite children''s book and my daughters too
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 20, 2013
Ogden Nash is my favourite poet and I have loved his poems and children''s stories since I was a kid. I started reading this book to my daughter from an early age and now aged nearly two she asks for it often. It''s got great repetition, an engaging story and lovely...See more
Ogden Nash is my favourite poet and I have loved his poems and children''s stories since I was a kid. I started reading this book to my daughter from an early age and now aged nearly two she asks for it often. It''s got great repetition, an engaging story and lovely illustrations. I would say this is more of a book for a longer attention span, or perhaps for slightly older children, it is a firm favourite in our house.
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Tam Tam
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Disappointing!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2015
One of my favourite stories of all time but the book was from clearing stocks of a French library! There was markings and stamps all over the words not in good condition at all.
One person found this helpful
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Betty
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
loved it!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 10, 2013
This ancient tale by Ogden Nash never loses it''s appeal ... I read it to my children, and am now reading it to my great-grandchildren. A wonderful classic that I''d recommend to anyone who''s young at heart!
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Crissi
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I am furious
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 18, 2013
Not only did the company not even bother to tell me when it had been dispatched - but its late, nearly a week late infact and it still hasn''t arrived. This is disgusting, your quick enough to take the money from my account but your not so quick to actually get the product...See more
Not only did the company not even bother to tell me when it had been dispatched - but its late, nearly a week late infact and it still hasn''t arrived. This is disgusting, your quick enough to take the money from my account but your not so quick to actually get the product on time
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