Today Caramel reviews Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon, that brings together the 1948 classic My Father’s Dragon, a Newberry Honor recipient, and its two sequels, Elmer and the Dragon (1950) and The Dragons of Blueland (1951), all written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. As usual, Sprinkles is taking notes and asking questions.
Sprinkles: So Caramel, tell me about this book.
Caramel: This book is nice if you like happy books and dragons.
S: Oh, so it is a happy book about dragons?
C: Yes and no. It’s also about Elmer Elevator, who meets a cat, who tells him about a dragon. Then Elmer goes and finds this dragon.
S: So is Elmer the father in the title?
C: Yes. The first part of the book is told by someone who calls Elmer “my father”. It makes it sound like it is a true story that happened to someone’s dad.
S: Hmm, so the narrator of the first book, My Father’s Dragon, is Elmer’s child, right?
C: Yes. And Elmer is a nine year old boy when things are happening.
S: So it really reads like you are hearing a tale that Elmer told his child and that child grew up and is telling you the story. And then the remaining two books are told in the third person, right?
C: Yes. There is no narrator calling Elmer “my father” anymore. Elmer is only a boy in those two parts.
S: I see. So then Elmer finds this dragon and they get to be friends?
C: Yes. The dragon has blue and yellow stripes and has a long tail and has red eyes and red feet.
S: That’s a very colorful dragon!
C: Yup. The cat helps Elmer devise a plan to help the dragon and Elmer goes and saves the dragon. The first part of the book is all about Elmer finding the dragon. Then they become friends, and in the second book, they are stuck in an island. Then the dragon takes Elmer home, and in the third part of the book he goes to his own home, Blueland. And then there is some trouble there, and Elmer helps him.
S: That sounds like a sweet story.
C: Yes, I think so.
S: So you have read a lot of books about dragons. Does the dragon in this book resemble any dragons you know of?
C: Not really. This dragon is completely different. He does talk, and he is very colorful, like he is wearing striped PJs, dragon-sized and shaped of course. And I don’t think he can breathe fire or anything.
S: Do any one of Elmer’s family or friends meet this dragon?
S: So is Elmer the only human involved in the stories?
C: Yes. There are canaries, there is the cat, there is an adult gorilla, and six baby gorillas, but there are not any other humans in the story. I mean, some show up, but they don’t really play a role in the story.
S: That is interesting. Somehow a lot of the things you are telling me about this book remind me of another classic Marshmallow had reviewed way back: Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater, There were humans in that story, but the tone of the book and the happiness you are talking about reminded me of that one. Anyways, did you enjoy reading this book?
C: Yes. I especially liked the pictures.
S: Oh, tell me more.
C: They are all black and white, but they are very detailed and I could see exactly what Elmer and his dragon look like.
S: That sounds great Caramel. Would you have enjoyed being friends with Elmer and the dragon?
C: Yep. They are both fun and nice.
S: So did you know that there is apparently a 1997 animated movie version of this story?
C: Yes, we just found it, but it is in Japanese!
S: Yes, so we could not really watch it and understand it fully, but it was nice to look at, wasn’t it?
C: Yes. Let’s put it in here!
S: Sure. We can put a link to it. Here it is: https://youtu.be/5obEfjUyr6k. We might still watch it some day.
C: Especially if we learn to speak Japanese.
S: True. Okay, let us wrap up our review. What are your three words to describe this book?
C: Adventure, happy, friendship.
S: Hmm, those are not quite descriptive words, but I get your point. Thank you. So what do you want to tell our readers as we wrap things up?
C: Stay tuned for more book bunny reviews!