I can not think of better stories for our journey-themed-summer than Ruth Stiles Gannet’s trilogy, The Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon. Rescuing and flying on a dragon, talking to jungle animals, seeing crocodiles eat lollipops . . . My kids were hooked every night as we recently read Elmer’s adventures aloud together. We would look forward to story time all day long. (Yes, “we”. I enjoyed the books as much as my kids!) Join the journey:
Introducing Our Featured Friend: The Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon
By Ruth Stiles Gannett
One cold rainy day when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street . . .
My Father [Elmer] said, “When I grow up I’m going to have an airplane. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to fly just anywhere you might think of.”
“Would you like to fly very, very much?” asked the cat.
“I certainly would. I’d do anything if I could fly.”
The cat unfolded the story of his former adventures on Wild Island. The lazy animals on Wild Island enslaved a baby dragon that fell injured from the sky. Once the dragon recovered, the wild animals tied a rope around the dragon only allowing him to fly them over the river and back again. If Elmer could rescue the dragon, he could fly him to freedom and accomplish good for both the dragon and himself.
The adventures to get on the island, outsmart the animals, and reach the dragon made it hard for us to only read a couple of chapters each night . . . I found the ending to be most humorous and satisfying.
The second book of the trilogy, Elmer and the Dragon begins,
“Elmer, you were wonderful to come all the way to Wild Island just to rescue me. I’ll never be able to thank you enough!”
“Oh, that’s all right,” said Elmer. “Flying on your back makes all my trouble worthwhile.”
“Then I’ll take you on a trip! Where would you like to go?”
Although Elmer wanted to fly everywhere, he knew that he needed to go home, seeing he was a nine-year-old boy that ran away on this adventure ten days ago! On their journey over the sea to home on Nevergreen City, a storm hit and Elmer and the dragon barely made it to land. Their unplanned stop to Feather Island lasted longer than they anticipated. An island inhabited only by canaries, talking canaries of course, led Elmer and the dragon into another full adventure of curing King Can XI, a rather ordinary canary, of his illness. He was “dying of curiosity”, which was a disease passed on for generations. Dig into the book to find out the cure for curiosity for him. One hint, a treasure hunt is involved!
The third book of the trilogy, The Dragons of Blueland, begins,
Over the harbor, past the lighthouse, away from Nevergreen City flew the happy baby dragon. “I’m on my way home to the great high mountains of Blueland!” he shouted to the evening skies. “At last I’m off to find my six sisters and seven brothers, and my dear gigantic mother and father.”
Boris, the dragon, (as his name is finally revealed) made it home to Blueland just in time to discover his family all trapped by men in a cave. Risking being seen again because of his size, Boris fly back to Elmer for help. In this final journey, Boris and Elmer team up to rescue his family of fifteen dragons. Much suspense and humor enter the story with them trying not to be seen by anyone. Let’s just say their rescue plan worked better than their hide out attempts . . . and the people that read the Nevergreen City News paper were left to decide if they believe dragons still exist or not.
Inviting You To Become FRIENDS with Elmer and Boris:
Correlating Questions & Activities for Classrooms, Story Times, and Family Reads
Feel, Relate, Imagine, Explore, Navigate, Develop, Share
F- When do you think Elmer feels scared during this journey? When would you feel scared? When did you feel surprised by the creative things Elmer did to outsmart the animals in order to reach the baby dragon?
R- Share a time when you can relate to Boris when he went to Elmer for help. When did you need to ask someone for help for a job too big to do by yourself?
I- Imagine that you could fly on a dragon for a day. Where would you go? Would you want to take anyone with you or keep the adventure to yourself?
E- Explore the different myths about dragons by learning about their origins.
N- Navigate your way through the islands by using the maps on the cover page while reading the stories.
D- Develop your own illustration from your favorite part of Elmer and Boris’s journey and include a quote from the book on your picture.
S- Share some lollipops and tangerines together while you read the books!
When a story’s character becomes your friend, suddenly you find him entering your life in unexpected ways:
*Check out cool, printable activities from the publisher: https://www.randomhouse.com/teachers/pdf/myfathersdragon.pdf
Follow Kidsbook Friends:
Free lesson plans including correlating questions, crafts, & activities to great kids’ books:
Facebook: Kidsbook Friends