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.
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.