All the dragons on Dragon Island are fierce, fiery and ferocious. Except for Norman. And Norman tries desperately to change the others, but finally realises that, sometimes, others won't change their ways and the only thing to do is walk away...
I was keen to flick through the pages of the book as the illustration on the front cover had caught my eye - not the typical pictures of dragons that children's books normally have.
Terri Baynton has been very clever to use illustrations that are explained in the written text but there is also plenty of other things to talk about to. I love the use of colour that he has used for each dragon and the uniqueness of each. Martin Baynton has used a variety of exciting vocab to engaged both young and older readers. I loved the words, lean, fiery, ferocious, scuffed. All these describing words and plenty more which engaged my 3 year old and encouraged him to ask what these words meant.
This story gave us plenty to talk about - what should Norman do if he doesn't like what others are doing? So what would you do if you didn't like what others were doing? Throughout the story Norman continues to be himself and does not change for anyone - is this a good thing to do?
I loved the way that this book could lead to multiple discussions on many difficult situations children and adults are faced with in society. As a teacher this is definitely a book that could be used over and over again, whether it is looking at illustrations, vocab, describing words, poetry or behaviours. A must book on all parents book shelf.
The is simply a gorgeous story book with a strong message underpinning it. The title of the book grabbed the attention of my four year old. He is really into anything about dragons. Dragons are something that a lot of children get excited about, so they were a good choice on the part of the author, Martin Baynton.
The illustrations in the book are very bright and colourful and included some fine details. Each page presents lots for children to look at and talk about. Mr four, enjoyed searching one of the early pages to work out who Norman was. The text encourages children to look around the page to match in their own mind the different types of dragons that they seen. When I was reading the story to my children, I didn't stop enough to enjoy the illustrations for myself. I had to pop back to really see how amazing they were. I would recommend taking your time as you read to really appreciate the illustrations as they tell a story by themselves.
The way the story is written is rather interesting. There are a couple of instances of sections which rhyme, whereas the rest of the book is written an everyday writing style. I didn't notice this when I was reading the book, so it didn't stand out in a negative or positive way but I picked it up when I was looking back through it again.
The storyline is delightful and both my children were hooked when I was reading it to them. The whole way through the story, Norman stood up for his beliefs and was willing to help the other dragons when they needed it most. He was ok with being different. Even though he came through for the other dragons, they weren't willing to change for him and kept at their old ways.
The ending of the story is not the "happy ever after" ending that I was expecting. That would have been too predictable and I like that. My expectation was that Norman would manage to get the other dragons to see the error of their ways and change. Life isn't necessarily like that. I enjoyed the fact that Martin Baynton has used the end of the story to highlight the fact that sometimes no matter how much you try, you can't make things better and you have to know when to have the courage to stand up and be different. Sometimes walking away from the bad behaviour of the crowd is the only way to be happy and true to yourself. It also shows that when one person stands up for what they believe in that others may choose that as the best way to live also. The small speckled dragon followed Norman as he left the island to see what the world had to offer.
This book has promoted some discussion with Mr Four about what to do if you think that other people are behaving badly and whether it is ok to leave the group if they are acting against what you believe in. Even though he is only young, he had quite a bit to say about the topic. I think that this book could be used when discussing negative behaviour or bullying at school and that it is ok to stand up and be different.
A great read and a chance to get into some meaty discussions with children after reading it.
Random listing from 'Books'...
When the animals visit Little Sam Sundae's ice cream shop on Jellybean Street they have some unusual requests. Sam whips up a blue cheese sundae for Mouse and a worm cornet for Hen. Finally, it's Gorilla's turn to order but all he wants is plain old vanilla. Licking their lips, the other animals realise that Gorilla has made the best choice, after all. Luckily for them, gorillas love sharing!
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