Children’s Book Week Review – Ellie’s Dragon

Link to Catalogue record for Ellie's Dragon

Ellie’s Dragon by Bob Graham

This book was part of the Shortlist for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Picture Book of the Year.

No friendship is imaginary. When Ellie is very little, she finds a newborn dragon fresh from the egg on a supermarket shelf, and calls him Scratch. He is quite the sweetest thing she has ever seen! From that day on, Ellie and Scratch do everything together. Ellie’s mum and her teacher can’t see her fiery friend, but all her friends can and, over the years, Ellie’s dragon grows to be big, house-trained, and very affectionate. And Ellie is growing, too.

Ellie is quite small when she finds her dragon – a dragon her friends can see but her parents and her teacher can’t.

Then as Ellie grows older she outgrows her dragon (I dare you not to get very sad at this stage of the book) and eventually he fades and leaves.

But this is a very hopeful, well-written, well-paced book about the wonder of childhood but also the way we grow and move on and how the things that made childhood magical are lost a little as we grow. Ellie can’t see her dragon so much as she gets older and her new-found interests take over and that’s a loss that as adults we feel keenly. It’s a good thing as well, the way our tastes change, that we move from dollhouses to the coolest band, that we learn resilience and can leave behind the comforts of youth.

The book is a great reminder of that and maybe a bit of a reminder that we should remember to look around for our own ‘dragon’ sometimes because we might see more wonder in the world as a result.

I will promise that Ellie has her happy ending by moving on from her dragon (though she can smell smoke sometimes) but the dragon does as well – they are found by another child who is ready to have a dragon of their own.

The story, which is one of my favourites from this year’s books, is accompanied by Bob Graham‘s beautiful artwork.

I still use a pen dipped in ink, and chalks and watercolour, and scissors and sticky tape

I would encourage everyone to read this book, and if you like it you can check out some of Bob Graham’s other work.

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