9.01.2008

My Father's Dragon Trilogy by Ruth Stiles Gannet, illustrations by Ruth Chrisman Gannett 80pp RL3




















Begun in 1948, Ruth Stiles Gannett's trilogy of books includes, My Father's Dragon, a Newbery Honor book, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. As with all books I love, these have a map on the end papers.



























The book begins with the adventurous Elmer Elevator, who yearns to fly, learns (from a wet cat, no less) that there just might be a way to make this happen. The cat tells Elmer of a group of islands, one of which has a captive baby dragon named Boris who is forced to ferry the lazy animals back and forth across the island. Incensed and captivated, Elmer stows away in a bag of cranberries and makes his way to wild island. Elmer uses the contents of his knapsack to get him out of some tight spots, but manages to escape on the back of Boris in the end.


The escapades of the flying duo continue in Elmer and the Dragon as they try to find their way back to Elmer's home in Nevergreen City. After being caught in a storm, they land on a deserted island only to meet Flute, the canary, who enlists Elmer and Boris to help retrieve a treasure, the secret contents of which have been plaguing King Can IX , king of the canaries, and his subjects. After celebrating the discovery, Boris flies Elmer home to his worried parents then sets off to find his own family.


In The Dragons of Blueland, Elmer encounters dangerous humans as he searches for his mother, who is trapped in her cave by hunters, determined to capture dragons for profit. Boris manages to escape unseen and returns to Nevergreen city to ask for the help of his friend Elmer. Along with a steam shovel and a long list of supplies, including horns, Elmer and Boris scare away the hunters and reunite the dragons.


These books have gentle illustrations, the depictions of the animals and dragons being more detailed than those of the humans, as well as simple but evocative descriptions of the terrain and the foods encountered throughout the stories. The vocabulary and plot are simple, making this trilogy a perfect chapter book for a new reader.


3 comments:

Jeremy said...

Oh, we love these -- I wondered whether you might review them here!

Jeremy said...

This reminded me of another of our favourites...I wonder whether you're familiar with it: The Dragon of Lonely Island. It's not particularly original, but the tone and feel of it really appeals to my girls -- the reading level is good, without the fear and violence of books for older readers. It would really benefit from some fantastic illustrations if they ever do another edition.

Tanya said...

Jeremy - I have noticed "The Dragon of Lonely Island" on the shelf but have never gotten around to reading it. I'll check it out! Great illustrations make everything better - like frosting!