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My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
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My Father's Dragon (1948)

by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Other authors: Ruth Chrisman Gannett (Illustrator)

Series: My Father's Dragon Series (Book 1)

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Summary: In this story a young boy recounts the story of his father’s journey to rescue his very own dragon. The story begins with the father, a young boy at the time, being reprimanded and punished for adopting and caring for a stray alley cat. The young boy shares his dreams of flying with the alley cat as they walk through the park one day and the cat begins to tell the boy how he could help him fly. The cat tells the boy about the Island of Tangerina where he traveled and learned of the inhabitants of Wild Island. On Wild Island lived a young baby dragon who was being held captive to transport the citizens of the island across the river because they were too lazy to walk around the tip of the river. The alley cat helps the boy prepare for a trip to Wild Island to rescue the dragon and gives him a packing list that surely saves his life when he encounters the tigers who love to chew gum, the lion who is more concerned about the appearance of his mane and the alligators that loved pink lollipops. The boy narrowly escapes rescuing the dragon that then flies him to safety.

Personal Reaction: This was a wonderful book and a fanciful tale. I loved the subtle under tones of human encounters such as the lion being afraid his mother would cut his allowance if she saw his mane completely a mess. The mouse and the boars were hilarious in their pursuit of the invasion and the fact that they boy had exactly what he needed in his knapsack to counter each of the attacks that he faced was delightful. When you first hear the items in his pack you can’t imagine what they are for so to see how he uses each of the items is interesting. A great book for young boys to read.

Classroom Extension:
1. A fun activity after reading this book would be to have the students draw one of the characters in the book. Each of the animals had distinct characteristics and it would be fun to see how the children would illustrate these characters.
2. Another fun extension of this book would be for the students to brainstorm what other animals Elmer might have encountered on Wild Island, describing the situation of their meeting and what Elmer might have had in his pack to dissuade them from further attack. ( )
  msmarymac | Feb 20, 2014 |
This 1949 Newbery honor recipient is a simple tale told in a marvelous manner.

Weary of admonishment by his mother, Elmer Elevator listens to a verbal stray cat regale his tales of travel. Hearing the tale of
Wild Island and a dragon captured there, Elmer decides to free the dragon.

With lovely illustrations, we accompany Elmer in his quest. ( )
  Whisper1 | Jan 8, 2014 |
An entertaining and delightfully amusing book that children will enjoy and adults won't at all mind reading to them again and again. The illustrations are beautiful and the quality of writing is perfect for the target group. The moments of problem solving are perfectly blended with a touch of humor that will make anyone smile as the boy goes about his quest to rescue a baby dragon. It is interesting how this is quite obviously a fantastical story, yet it feels so perfectly normal that you can actually believe every word. A perfect little story for all ages, guaranteed to brighten someone's day. It is clear why this was awarded the Newbery Honor. ( )
  mirrani | Aug 31, 2013 |
My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett is the first book in a children's trilogy about a young man (the narrator's father) and his baby dragon. It was a 1948 Newbury Honor.

Elmer Elevator decides he is in need of some adventure. He has heard rumor of a bullied baby dragon on Wild Island, accessible only via a string of rocks from Tangerine Island. Elmer must face dangerous, talking animals, out smarting them.

For younger readers, My Father's Dragon offers a silly adventure similar to the Pipi Longstocking books. For me, the best part of the book was the artwork. The illustrations and included map are wonderful. Reading, it though, as an adult, I found the story lacking somewhat. I'm sure if I were still in elementary school, though, it would have been a favorite. ( )
  pussreboots | Jul 22, 2013 |
I read this online at my own father's behest. The pencil illustrations are just lovely. The animals are clearly based on close observation (well, except the dragon, one must assume) and the boy is adorable. The story is fun- the boy packs the most unlikely things in his backpack, and the ways he is called upon to use them during his adventure are silly and hilarious. Delightful book. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ruth Stiles Gannettprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gannett, Ruth ChrismanIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
For my father
First words
One cold rainy day when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street.
Quotations
He took chewing gum, two dozen pink lollipops, a package of rubber bands, black boots, a compass, a toothbrush and a tube of toothpaste, 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. (p. 20)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394890485, Paperback)

My Father's Dragon--a favorite of young readers since the 1940s and a Newbery honor book--captures the nonsensical logic of childhood in an amusingly deadpan fashion. The story begins when Elmer Elevator (the narrator's father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island. The quirky, comical adventure ends with a heroic denouement: the freeing of the dragon. Abundant black-and-white lithographs by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (the author's stepmother) add an evocative, lighthearted mood to an already enchanting story. Author Ruth Stiles Gannett 's stand-alone sequel, Elmer and the Dragon, and her third volume, The Dragons of Blueland both received starred reviews in School Library Journal and are as fresh and original as her first. (Ages 4 to 8)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:47 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A young boy determines to rescue a poor baby dragon who is being used by a group of lazy wild animals to ferry them across the river on Wild Island.

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