A young boy recounts his father's adventures on an island where animals are endowed with human traits.--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
The best thing about the book for me was that even though there's plenty of action (mostly involving the little boy outsmarting a series of wild animals in order to reach the dragon), there's nothing the least bit scary here. That was very important to me as the mother of a four-year-old. The book was written in the forties, and it has a sweet, gentle, old-fashioned quality that it's hard to find in any form of entertainment for young children today. (Even Disney is too intense for a lot of four-year-olds.) It has the kind of innocence most of us would like our children to be able to hang on to for a few years.
My son loved the book so much we read it over and over again, and went on to read the other two books in the series (Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland) many times as well.
Years later, when he was in third grade, his teacher mentioned to me that she was hunting for a chapter book to read to the class, but wasn't having much luck. Everything she looked at seemed beyond the attention span of many of the kids in her class. I told her about My Father's Dragon, but I also said it probably wasn't exciting enough to hold the attention of third graders. But she tried it anyway, and later told me that kids who had never shown any interest in books were reminding her every day to read another chapter. She, too, went on to read the whole series.
It's a great introduction to chapter books. More important, it's a lovely, gentle book to share with a child.
I read this one to my great-grandson when he was four years old, and he listened wide-eyed and was entranced. Read more