Saturday, November 23, 2013

Classics Review: My Father's Dragon

Premise: Young Elmer Elevator embarks on a quest to free a dragon who has been enslaved by the animals on Wild Island. No human has ever come back from Wild Island, but Elmer's not worried because he has lollipops, toothpaste, and ribbon in his backpack.

Title: My Father's Dragon
Author: Ruth Stiles Gannett
Length: 74 pages
Genre: Fantasy / Classic
Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Content Appropriate for: Grades PreK-6

Three adjectives that describe this book: fun, fanciful, surprising

I had been avoiding My Father's Dragon because of its terrible cover and title. It just looks old and dinky. I did a quick search to see if a new cover has been designed that will do a better job of enticing readers, but I wasn't impressed by what I found:

Complete trilogy cover.
Are they hugging? Weird

Audiobook cover. Just silly.

VHS cover. I like this one best.
It's really unfortunate because this is a terrific story. Elmer's adventure is super fun. This story reads like a fairy tale, with repetition in the events. Each time Elmer meets a dangerous wild animal, he outsmarts the creature with a strange and wise every-day tool from his pack such as chewing gum or toothpaste.

Since this sequence happens several times, I thought it would become boring and predictable. But actually, I began to eagerly await Elmer's next run-in and enjoyed trying to figure out how he would outsmart the next animal.

The best praise for this book is that, when I told my fifth graders that I had read it, one of the boys said, "My dad used to read this book to me when I was little!" He was so excited to see it again, that he grabbed my copy and devoured it. A few days later, he promoted the book to his peers during our weekly Book Commercial time and they were clamoring to read it next.

Overall: This classic would be great to read aloud to your four or five year old. The chapters are short, the illustrations are terrific, and the story is straight-forward, fun, and a bit adventurous. I also appreciated the subtle humor when the 17 crocodiles got super excited about pink lollipops. A fun, quick read.
4 stars

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I forgot all about My Father's Dragon until now! I remember reading this in elementary school and being amused by all the things that Elmer had in his backpack, haha. And I actually liked the cover because of all the colors and the cute lion. :) Thanks for sharing!