My copy of the book smells like library. You know the smell- that old library scent is unmistakeable!
Published in 1948, My Father’s Dragon is the first in a series of three books written by Ruth Stiles Gannet about Elmer Elevator and his dragon pal.
The story begins when Elmer befriends and old stray cat. The friendship gets Elmer in a bit of trouble at home (his mother has no love for strays) but gives him the reward of a fantastic adventure. When Elmer expresses his wish that he could fly to his cat friend the cat tells him a magnificent tale about a baby dragon kept prisoner in a faraway place called Wild Island. The cat feels sure that if Elmer can make the perilous journey and free the baby dragon that the baby dragon would surely repay him by allowing him to ride on his back as he flies. The adventure that follows is sweet and comical. The animal characters of Wild Island and their odd habits are slightly reminiscent of the cast of Wonderland. They take themselves a bit to seriously and are therefore all the more amusing.
This book is an ideal bed time read aloud- with a chapter or two read each night. It would also be loved by children who are confident readers and enjoy silly adventure tales. Adults who love the appeal of a simple, sweet tale will also want to add this to their bookshelves.
The illustrations by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (step mother of the author) are another huge asset to the appeal of the book. Gannett’s illustrations are whimsical, comical, and sweet. They perfectly capture the tone of the book and enhance it for the reader’s delight.
I am OBSESSED with the illustrations. Gannett’s illustrations make me feel young and safe. They make me want to go back to a simpler time when I wore footy pajamas and someone else had to pack my lunch at night. Cheesey? Yes. True? Also yes.
The combination of text and illustrations are what has kept these books in continuos print since 1948.