Title: My Father’s Dragon
Author: Ruth Stiles Gannett
Illustrator: Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Publisher: Random House
I think this book might replace Charlotte’s Web as my favorite read-aloud to date! Now I am in no way suggesting that this book could possibly take the place of E.B. White’s masterpiece in the canon of children’s literature; however, for my wee girlies, this 1949 Newbery Honor book is simple enough and has enough illustrations to keep them engaged. Add to those characteristics the fact that it also has short chapters, and we definitely have a winner! Personally, I found the book delightful. I can’t imagine how I missed it. Perhaps I was put off by the title; I am not a fan of fantasy. This book, though, is really just a very imaginative animal story. The narrator’s father, Elmer Elevator (who wouldn’t love a book with a protagonist named Elmer Elevator?!?), learns from a cat that there is a baby dragon imprisoned on Wild Island. Appropriately enough, there are only wild animals on Wild Island, but Elmer Elevator, who longs for his own airplane but will settle for a baby dragon, is not to be deterred. He packs just the right miscellaneous items in his knapsack that, coupled with his quick thinking and imagination, enable him to foil the animals’ attempts to capture and/or eat him. I think he might be the first incarnation of MacGyver. I am eager to make a trip to the library tomorrow and look for the sequels: Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.