Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

At the suggestion of an alley cat, a brave boy named Elmer Elevator sets off to rescue a dragon.

This 50th anniversary volume contains the books My Father's Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland along with an introduction by the author. Together, they make up the "Elmer and the Dragons series." In the first book, Elmer sets off to save an enslaved baby dragon. The second book is the fantastic journey homeward. In the third book, the dragon returns to enlist Elmer's help in saving his family.

I read this as part of my self-education on award-winners of the past; the first book in the series was a runner-up for the Newbery Medal when it was published in 1948.

It's an odd type of children's story - the kind we had before anyone took "children's literature" very seriously. It's a series of wildly improbable adventures taken by a child without the aid of adults. There are talking animals. There's menace, but no big danger befalls them. All's well in the end, and it always finishes with the adults befuddled as to what's happened right under their noses!

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