Monday, September 8, 2014

My Father's Dragon, by Ruth S. Gannett

This humorous and somewhat silly story is very reminiscent of old folk tales and trickster tales.  The chapters are short and fun, and this would be a great book for young reluctant readers!

The author's father, Elmer Elevator, brings an alley cat in from the rain on a stormy day to dry by the furnace and have a saucer of milk.  But Elmer's mother will have none of it, and sends the cat away.  Elmer goes in search of the cat later, and out of appreciation the cat tells him about the Wild Island, off the coast of Tangerina.  It's full of dangerous wild animals, and no one (save the cat) has ever survived to describe it to outsiders.

Of most interest to Elmer is the young dragon kept captive by the animals of the island to ferry them across a wide river.  The cat tells him that the dragon would no doubt give him a ride in gratitude if Elmer could free him.  So Elmer packs himself a bag of food suitable for young boys and stows away on a vessel heading to deliver goods to Tangerina.

Elmer slips away at nighttime to Wild Island through the secret path the cat told him would be revealed at low tide.  Once there, he realizes that all of the animals can speak and that he won't be able to conceal his presence for long.  When Elmer finally encounters animals (who, of course, would all like to kill or eat him) he manages to cleverly outwit each one with an item from his backpack.  This part of the story is really fun.

I don't think I'm ruining the story to say here that he does manage to free the dragon and fly away on his back- this volume is first in a trilogy.  I can only assume that the subsequent volumes are just as silly as the first.

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