My Father's Dragon

Ruth Stiles Gannett

illustrated by

Ruth Chrisman Gannett

Random House, 1948, 87 pp.
ISBN: 0-394-89048-5

Genre: Early Chapter
Subgenre: Fantasy
Reviewed: 11/18/2003

Reviewed by: Conan Tigard

Book Cover


Surrounded by Seven Tigers on Wild Island

The tigers walked around him in a big circle, looking hungrier all the time, and then they sat down and began to talk.

"I suppose you thought we didn't know you were trespassing in our jungle!"

Then the next tiger spoke. "I suppose you're going to say you didn't know it was our jungle!"

"Did you know that not one explorer has ever left this island alive?" said the third tiger.

My father thought of the cat and knew this wasn't true. But of course he had too much sense to say so. One doesn't contradict a hungry tiger.

The tigers went on talking in turn. "You're our first little boy, you know. I'm curious to know if you're especially tender."

"Maybe you think we have regular meals-times, but we don't. We just eat whenever we're feeling hungry," said the fifth tiger.

"And we're very hungry right now. In fact, I can hardly wait," said the sixth.

"I can't wait!" said the seventh.

And then all the tigers said together in a load roar, "Let's begin right now!" and they moved in closer.



One day, Elmer Elevator meets and old alley cat. Elmer tries to take the cat home, but his mother refuses to have the mangy old cat in the house. The cat asks Elmer if he would like to fly, but not in an airplane. The cat then tells him a story about when he was on Wild Island four months ago and saw a baby dragon being held prisoner and forced to transport the locals around to different destinations. Elmer decides that he needs to rescue the poor dragon and stows away on a ship bound for the Island of Tangerina.

On the island, Elmer collects a lot of tangerines and other articles and puts them all in his backpack. Elmer sets off at night to cross the Ocean Rocks (the Ocean Rocks link the Island of Tangerina with Wild Island). When he finally arrives on Wild Island, Elmer finds himself blocked by many different types of animals; like two wild boars, seven tigers, a rhinoceros, a lion, a gorilla, and multiple crocodiles. He has to use his wits to pass by all of these obstacles and make his way toward the captive.

Elmer knows that he must reach his goal and save the baby dragon with stealth, otherwise, he will end up being eaten by the locals.

My Father's Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett, is a fantasy tale about a young boy determined to save a baby dragon from being a slave. The boy must use his brains, and the articles he brought in his backpack, to outsmart all of the fierce creatures on Wild Island. The book is beautifully illustrated in black and white by Ruth Chrisman Gannett. This story is intended for 3rd to 4th grades.



I enjoy this kind of fantasy yarn. Although the book was written over fifty years ago, kids today will find the story both thrilling and funny. My daughter laughed out loud and became excited more than a few times as I read this story to her.

I liked the old-time feel of the story and enjoyed the fact that the main character was smart enough to out-think all of the animals on Wild Island. I found it interesting that the story is being told by Elmer's son.

Overall, My Father's Dragon is an excellently told and drawn story that should not be passed up by any reader. Kids will love it, although it may take them a little time to get into the story.

I rated this book an 8 out of 10.

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