My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett
the jacket Powells: “When Elmer Elevator hears about the plight of an overworked and underappreciated baby flying dragon, he stows away on a ship and travels to Wild Island to rescue the dragon.”
My take: Another of the kids’ books from our readalong, this is one I’d never heard of, but which, from page 1, I wanted to have read aloud to me. Since that wasn’t happening, I read it aloud to Jeremiah, who seemed awed and a little concerned that I was whispering to him for a prolonged period of time in the middle of the night. He did not find the story engrossing and, I am sad to say, hopped down before we’d reached the end.
I do not think a child would hop down.
The story focuses on the narrator’s father, Elmer Elevator, who rescues an alley cat, who, in turn, tells Elmer about a blue and yellow striped baby dragon. Held prisoner by the animals of Wild Island, he is forced to ferry them back and forth across a river. The cat assures Elmer that if he were to rescue the dragon, it would be sure to let him fly on its back.
With a backpack full of useful items, like magnifying glasses, rubber bands, and lollipops, Elmer stows away on a ship. When he finally reaches Wild Island, he finds that he will need all his cunning and common sense to outwit the animals who want to eat him and to reach the baby dragon.
Similar in feel to Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and The Jungle Book, this would make a worthy addition to any library of books to read aloud to children. I’d probably say kindergarten through second grade, because I think any younger and the length and the threat of being devoured might be too much. Plus, in that age range, they’d be able to enjoy the beautifully illustrated map featured on the end papers of the book.
If you’d like to sample this 1949 Newbery Honor book, the complete text is available online through UPenn‘s digital library collection.