My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet

Note: I occasionally accept review copies from the publisher. Posts written from review copies are labeled. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. I may receive compensation for any purchased items.

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannet (published 1948) won the Newbery Honor upon publication. It is an adventure story about a child and geared for a child.

In this story, a child named Elmer Elevator (called “my father” throughout the book) befriends an alley cat, who tells him of a captured dragon forced to work  on Wild Island, near the Land of Tangerina. Elmer decides to go to the rescue of the dragon, and he packs his bag with things that seem, to the reader, to be bizarre:

He took chewing gum, two dozen pink lollipops, a package of rubber bands, black rubber boots, a compass, a tooth brush and a tube of tooth paste, six magnifying glasses, a very sharp jackknife, a comb and a hairbrush, seven hair ribbons of different colors, an empty grain bag with a label saying “Cranberry,” some clean clothes, and enough food to last my father while he was on the ship.

Well, it turns out that all the items he chooses to bring are just what he needs to distract the wild animals on Wild Island long enough for him to make it to the dragon’s side and rescue him. I loved seeing how all the items in his bag helped him avoid the monkeys, crocodiles, and so forth!

My Father’s Dragon has a low reading level (second or third grade), about the same level as the earliest Magic Tree House Book. What a great book for introducing fantasy to young kids! I enjoyed the child-like adventure, and I hope many more will find it and enjoy it.

Apparently, although My Father’s Dragon is still in print (see the affiliate link above),  the original copyright was not renewed and it is now in the public domain! Therefore, you can read it or listen to it right now if you’d like!

Reviewed on September 2, 2014

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

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