|Yes, he's a dragon with a light saber.|
Please, please tell me that if you haven't read My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett to your children, you will ASAP! (you can preview it digitally, here)
Years ago, when I discovered The Tales of My Father's Dragon books in Jim Trealease's Read Aloud Handbook, I could not WAIT to get my hands on them. And my kids LOVED them.
They are seriously some of the best read aloud books on the planet, and a perfect introduction to chapter books for young children 4-8 years old. In the books, you'll follow the adventures of Elmer Elevator (the narrator's father as a boy), as he runs away with an old alley cat to The Island of Tangerina in order to rescue a flying baby dragon on faraway Wild Island. Such awesome adventures - the quirky stories read like an epic quest for children!
The books have fun black and white illustrations (drawn by the author's talented step-mother, no less!). The pictures, along with the imaginative text, make this series a perfect transition from picture books to chapter books for new readers (or, as I said earlier, engaging read alouds for preschoolers).
Here's what Mr. Trealease has to say about My Father's Dragon:
This is the little fantasy novel that has stood the test of time—surviving in print for a half century. So it must be good! The three-volume series is bursting with hair-raising escapes and evil creatures. The tone is dramatic enough to be exciting for even mature preschoolers but not enough to frighten them. The narrator relates the tales as adventures that happened to his father when he was a boy. This is an excellent transition series for introducing children to longer stories with fewer pictures. The rest of the series are, in order: Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. You can get all three tales combined in a single volume The Tales of My Father’s Dragon: 50th Anniversary Edition
What a perfect introduction for young children to the lore of dragons (not all dragons are mean and scary)! For my previous post about dragons and my list of favorite dragon tales, go here.
Now, for the real LOVE part: my daughter recently introduced the My Father's Dragon series to my preschool aged grandson, who of course adored Ruth Stiles Gannett's epic storytelling! And now his little brother is the cutest baby dragon ever! They've taken many playful, imaginary trips to Wild Island, and I'm sure there will be many more to come...
Oh, and by the way: under the dragon cape, my toddler grandson is wearing the cutest dragon pj's! I found them at Target!! I wonder if the designers read about the Dragons of Blueland when they were kids?