Sep 30, 2008

The Dragons of Blueland

by Ruth Stiles Gannett

Finished reading this book with my kid last night. We both liked it better than the last one, but still not quite as much as My Father's Dragon. Still, the story is cute and the illustrations are charming. In The Dragons of Blueland, the baby dragon has just arrived home to discover his family is trapped by a bunch of men who want to put the dragons in a zoo or circus. So he flies back to get Elmer for help. Of course Elmer packs his bag with a bunch of unexplained items. Their usefulness isn't revealed until the final escape at the end. It's not as clever as the first book, and my daughter's favorite part seemed to be re-imagining the story afterwards via the map that covers the endpapers.

My favorite illustration was a double-spread in the middle of the book showing the baby dragon hiding in a steam shovel. The only other place my daughter has ever seen such a thing is in the pages of Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel. I thought it was nice that she encountered this archaic piece of machinery again, and already knew what it was. It was curious to me how the names of the characters shifted through the three different books. In the first title, the boy is always referred to as "my father" even though we know his name is Elmer. I thought this might be confusing to a child, to have a little boy constantly called "father" in the story. In the second book, he's always called Elmer, but his companion is still just "the baby dragon". The last book revels the dragon's name: Boris, and that he found his name embarassing, so never told it. But he's still called "the baby dragon" most of the time.

Rating: 3/5                       88 pages, 1951

1 comment:

Fyrefly said...

My favorite illustration from this one was always the one with all of the sibling dragons with the different blue-and-yellow patterns in the one picture.