By Ruth Stiles Gannett, Illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Published by: Random House Books for Young Readers; 50th Anniversary edition (December 13, 2011)
Available in: hardcover, paperback, audible audio, audio CD, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review there were three books in the My Father’s Dragon series.
My Father’s Dragon, originally published in 1948, is easily identifiable as old-school storytelling. Sometimes this is a hindrance to today’s young readers. But with this book, it’s not.
The story reads almost as a dream. There’s a secret adventure, a baby dragon who falls out of a cloud and is held captive, and an island where “… no one has come back alive.” This is the stuff of great imagination and long-ago myths. Children who love a good fantasy will enjoy this now as much as decades ago.
For independent reading, this is probably best suited for older chapter book readers; the pages without illustrations are dense, there are long paragraphs and some of the vocabulary is challenging. But perhaps the best use of this book is a one-chapter-a-night family event, as even younger children will enjoy the talking animals and chapter headings such as “My Father Meets a Gorilla” and “My Father Runs Away.”
The illustrations are lush and child-like without being sophomoric. Although our protagonist, a young boy, is pictured as somewhat flat (which aids in the fantasy believability), the animals are solid and breathe with the life of bizarre dreams.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….