George and the Dragon

Every family has its own traditional newborn book.  In my family it was always Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, pictures by Cement Hurd.  Every newborn in our circle of family and friends could count on receiving at least one copy, and usually several (hardcover, softcover, board book — my daughter even got one with slippers that matched the ones from the book!).  I had always assumed I would continue that tradition; but I’ve changed my mind.

I should explain. Technically I’m 100% Canadian.   Ancestrally, I’m 50% Irish, 25% French, and 25% English. But emotionally I’m 100% English.  God save the queen, and tea, and mind the gap – that’s ME! So when I discovered a little book called George and the Dragon by Chris Wormell (me thinking it must be about St. George and his dragon slaying), I bought it immediately without reading it. Turns out, it has nothing to do with the traditional St. George and the Dragon story, but I discovered a wonderful new story instead!

The lyrical narrative begins soooo well: Far, far away in the high, high mountains in a deep, deep valley in a dark, dark cave lived a mighty dragon. Such good atmosphere, and it just keeps going.  The fierce and terrible dragon can burn down forests, defeat entire armys, and raze castles, all to kidnap the princess. But that mighty dragon has a big secret – he’s afraid of mice!  Enter George the mouse, who has just moved into the cave next door.  And when George discovers he’s out of sugar for his tea, he heads over to borrow some. You can just imagine what happens next! (Don’t worry, it all ends happily with tea;)) Wormell tells it all with a well-paced, well-worded brevity that keeps everyone’s attention. The illustrations are bright and full of detail. And it’s so easy to read that you don’t mind reading it over and over (and over and over and over and over….) again!

There aren’t many books like this — ones that appeal to the adult and the very young child. And appealing to the adult is important, as you know if you’ve ever had a child ask for the same story every night before bed for weeks. And I just loved reading this book to my two little ones so much I want to share it. So, the next baby shower I’m invited to, you can bet they’re going to get George and the Dragon from me.  I don’t think you have to be the kind of crazy Anglo-phile that I am to adore the pictures or the wonderful words that Wormell weaves into a delightful dragon story.

P.S. If you turn out to love it as much as I do, Wormell wrote an equally fantastic sequel called George, the Dragon and the Princess.

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Published in: on October 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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