When I was little I loved stories about dragons, notably Margaret Greaves’ ‘Charlie, Emma and the Dragon…’ series and June Counsell’s ‘Dragon in Class 4 series’.
*For the record: this was taken on holiday and that snazzy 80’s bedding wasn’t mine!*
I wrote story after story about them too – as evidenced by one of my earliest, more gruesome tales below…!
Thanks to fairytale and legend, dragons possess a mystery, magic wildness, which along with their supposed size, scales, fire, flight and non-existence make them ideal for stories of all kinds. Typically cast as the villains in fairy-tales, (incidentally see There Is No Dragon in This Story by Lou Carter which deserves and will get a review of its own at some point, but which in short is a fab and refreshing take on the dragon-as-bad-guy-in-fairy-tales picture book featuring all our best-loved fairy tale characters) or old, wise, usually dangerous types in fantasy adventures, they are also absolutely perfect for younger children’s chaos-ensues-when… type chapter books. Which brings us nicely to today’s book:
“When Tomas discovers a strange, old tree at the bottom of his grandpa’s garden, he doesn’t think much of it. But he takes the funny fruit from the tree back into the house – and gets the shock of his life when a tiny dragon hatches! The tree is a dragonfruit tree, and Tomas has just got his very own dragon, Flicker. Tomas soon finds out that life with Flicker is great fun, but also very…unpredictable!”
Following in the footsteps of some of the aforementioned dragon-ish chapter books I read and loved as a child, this has all the hallmarks of a great younger read: familiar settings of school and home; characters who are recognisable (family members and friends, with that not-very-nice school ‘bully’ and grouchy next-door neighbour for balance) and most importantly – that chaos I was talking about earlier!
Imagine the uproar a dragon could cause, especially one you’re trying to hide, and especially when you know they have exploding poo, a tendency to fly off and flame-breathing skills they’ve yet to master!
Combine the two and it makes for a riot of a read: familiar scenarios are turned into hilariously sticky situations by the appearance of a flame or poo or two (flying books, kitchen carnage, scorched shorts) and that’s when there’s only one dragon! Luckily for his friends, who also want a dragon (quite frankly, who wouldn’t?!), more dragonfruit start appearing on the tree, but if one dragon causes this much trouble, what will happen if more hatch…?!
A brilliant start to what promises to be a fantastic new series for younger readers. Sara Ogilvie’s illustrations are fresh, lively and more than up to the job of capturing the warmth, havoc and humour of the text. Recommended for fellow dragon-lovers everywhere!