Looking for a great book to read aloud to your child this World Read Aloud Day? My Father's Dragon is an excellent choice.
First published in 1948 by Random House, My Father’s Dragon is now in its 68th year, and received the Newbery Honor Award that same year. Written by Ruth Stiles Gannett and illustrated by her step-mother, Ruth Chrisman Gannett, My Father’s Dragon and the two subsequent books in the series, Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland, are some of the best read-aloud stories in children’s literature.
My Father’s Dragon is the story of Elmer Elevator (the narrator’s father), and how he runs away to Wild Island on the advice of a talking cat, who says, “in my younger days I was quite a traveler.” The old alley cat tells Elmer of a baby dragon with blue and gold stripes who fell out of the sky, and is made to ferry passengers on Wild Island. Elmer stows away on a ship to Cranberry, taking along with him “chewing gum, two dozen pink lollipops, a package of rubber bands, black rubber boots, a compass, a tooth-brush and a tube of tooth paste, six magnifying glasses, a very sharp jackknife…” along with “twenty-five peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and six apples, because that’s all the apples he could find in the pantry.” Elmer is going to rescue Boris the dragon.
Elmer’s journey takes him to the Island of Tangerina (where tangerines grow everywhere) and eventually he makes it to Wild Island, but getting to the dragon becomes even more difficult once on the island. The black and white pencil illustrations are whimsical and once you finish reading My Father’s Dragon, it will be necessary to continue reading Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. Celebrate World Read Aloud Day by reading this story.
This article originally appeared in The Clarion Ledger.