Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My Father's Dragon

My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett
pictures by Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Random House, 1948

My friend gef over at Lost in Texas cites My Father's Dragon as her daughter's all-time favorite children's book and that fact is totally understandable. Dale is a dreamer. A girl with a heart full of old school mystery and magic. A child who dreamed of princesses and far off lands long before she ever set eyes on Ariel or Aurora. She's a Dorothy. She's a Lucy Pevensie. She's a young Catherine Deneuve as Geneviève in The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. And she just turned six.

Although my son has listened to this book twice on audio, last night, as a tip of the 'ole hat to his dear friend's special day, I snuggled in bed with him and read it aloud all the way through. 50 minutes and three cough drops later, we finished. It was spectacular. I had the same feelings reading it that I had nibbling through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as a youngster. The sense of adventure... of what's around the next bend... a picture perfectly painted with words. My son was similarly riveted.

So there's this boy, see. And he takes in this small alley cat and it angers his mother to no end and when she makes him throw the cat out he wishes he could just fly away... so, the cat tells the boy of the mysterious Wild Island where he can find a dragon longing to be set free who will gladly fly anyone anywhere in exchange for his freedom. And so the adventure begins... The story is told by the boy's eventual son so from the beginning you know all is going to end well. Really, the suspense is totally G but completely thrilling. The climax? Without giving too much away, let's just say it includes verbiage of this nature...

The two wild boars, the seven tigers, the rhinoceros, the two lions, the gorilla, along with the countless screeching monkeys, were all riding down the middle of the river on the train of crocodiles sucking pink lollipops, and all yelling and screaming and getting their feet wet.

They don't write 'um like they used to. Simply the best of the best. This is one of a series of three, and you can be sure we'll have finished the other two before the week is out. I'm getting into reading longer format books to my son, so be expecting more and more of these. As I suspected, this blog will ultimately change as our reading habits do, so dig in for the long haul.


aly said...

I love this book! So does my 4yo daughter. I think it's the perfect first chapter book to read together. It's been hard to find others that are as charming and easy to understand. The closest we've come is _The Magic Faraway Tree_, which is pretty hard to track down.

Vivi said...

It is a perfect book to read together (as Aly) noted - I was a teacher for a reading program and this book was an amazing success. And the illustrations are beautiful to boot.

FairiesNest said...

All three of my sons loved this book and for two of them it was the first "chapter book" that they read to themselves. It's one of my favorites to give to those readers.

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

I will keep my eye out for this book on EBay. It is amazing the attention span of little ones when they enjoy the story that is read to them. My daughter will listen for hours to Enid Blyton story books that are quite complex for her four years.

Burgin Streetman said...

you're the second person to mention enid... will have to check them out.

Chandra said...

Just have to give you a big shout out from a big fan! I stumbled upon your blog through Planet Esme! It's just great!

Unknown said...

What a lovely and well-thought-out post.

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