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My Father's Dragon: 60th-Anniversary Edition    by Ruth Stiles Gannett & Ruth Chrisman Gannett order for
My Father's Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett
Order:  USA  Can
Random House, 2008 (1948)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In her Author's Note, Newbery Honor winner Ruth Stiles Gannett (now eighty-five) speaks of what it was like to publish My Father's Dragon (a classic in children's literature) when she was 'a first-time mother with a newborn daughter, overwhelmed by both of these momentous events.' Ruth Chrisman Gannett's amusing black and white illustrations enhance the story.

Each of the ten chapters in My Father's Dragon begins My Father ..., for example My Father Runs Away. However he's usually finding or meeting things. A young narrator tells this story of when his/her 'father was a little boy' named Elmer Elevator. It all started with an encounter with an old alley cat, whom Elmer invited home to his mother's dismay.

After the mother tosses out the cat, the latter tells Elmer of her past adventures and friendship with an abused dragon, who needs rescuing. So Elmer runs away for a while. He stows away on a ship heading to the island of Tangerina, well supplied with 'twenty-five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and six apples' along with jackknife, compass, rubber bands and other useful items.

After disembarking at Cranberry, Elmer wends his way to Wild Island, walks through a jungle, avoids boars and tricks hungry tigers. He helps a weepy rhinoceros, an upset lion, and an itchy gorilla; bribes crocodiles; and of course rescues a grateful dragon. My Father's Dragon is a delightful chapter book that will thoroughly engage today's young readers, just as it has for the past sixty years.

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