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on July 28, 2001
This was the first chapter book I read to my son, when he was 4, and I couldn't have found a better choice. The story is simple and easy to follow — a nine-year-old boy saves an enslaved baby dragon and then flies home on the dragon's back. The book's language is simple and direct. And there's a black and white drawing on almost every other page, which is perfect, because most young children still need a picture to look at while they're listening.
The best thing about the book for me was that even though there's plenty of action (mostly involving the little boy outsmarting a series of wild animals in order to reach the dragon), there's nothing the least bit scary here. That was very important to me as the mother of a four-year-old. The book was written in the forties, and it has a sweet, gentle, old-fashioned quality that it's hard to find in any form of entertainment for young children today. (Even Disney is too intense for a lot of four-year-olds.) It has the kind of innocence most of us would like our children to be able to hang on to for a few years.
My son loved the book so much we read it over and over again, and went on to read the other two books in the series (Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland) many times as well.
Years later, when he was in third grade, his teacher mentioned to me that she was hunting for a chapter book to read to the class, but wasn't having much luck. Everything she looked at seemed beyond the attention span of many of the kids in her class. I told her about My Father's Dragon, but I also said it probably wasn't exciting enough to hold the attention of third graders. But she tried it anyway, and later told me that kids who had never shown any interest in books were reminding her every day to read another chapter. She, too, went on to read the whole series.
It's a great introduction to chapter books. More important, it's a lovely, gentle book to share with a child.
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on December 23, 2011
This review is only for any non-Random House paperback version of this book on Amazon. Did you know My Father's Dragon is now in the public domain? I didn't. That means anybody who wants to can put out their own crappy-looking print-to-order version. You might save a few bucks (or not, I'm not sure) but you get what you pay for: a thin, ugly volume with all the production values of a college alumni directory or community theater playbill. Weird fonts, washed-out art, some low-resolution scans, etc. Buyer beware--don't click on the wrong version of this like I did!
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on October 22, 2000
I've been expecting my seven year old son to become, like the rest of the world, an addict of the Harry Potter books, but no dice.
Instead, he came home from his multi-age class rhapsodizing about a book I had never heard of...My Father's Dragon. And although I haven't read it (yet), I can tell you for sure what happens in the first five chapters, because my son tells us all with such verve and enthusiasim about the adventures that take place there! How the narrator's father gets out of the tigers, and builds a bridge with the crocodiles are two of his favorite parts, and the words "Bome Cack! Bome Cack!! have entered our vocabularies probably forever.
I think the three books in this series will be entering our household at Christmas time, and I can't wait to read them myself!
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on September 13, 2010
Don't let the boring "editorial review" fool you--this book was hilarious when it first came out in the 40's and it still is! As a child I read it over and over, laughing every time at the way the boy hero, named Elmer Elevator (just the name was enough to give me giggles) hides in a sack (his bony elbow making the sailors think he is corn on the cob!), stows away on a ship, and fools the not-to-bright but dangerous animals on Wild Island--using no weapons, just crazy items like chewing gum, lollipops, a toothbrush and yes, hair ribbons! The picture on the front cover says it all! And dragon lovers will cheer for Elmer as he attempts to rescue what has to be the worlds cutest baby dragon. As a children's librarian I recommend this to all parents looking for a great read-aloud as well as for transitional chapter book readers (the print is big, there are lots of great pictures and the book is not so long as to be intimidating--but there are some good vocabulary words!) Everyone keep buying and reading this classic so it will stay in print!
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on September 30, 1999
Before I could read, my mother must have read this story to me a hundred times (at my request, no insistance)! I loved this book - it's such an imaginative, upbeat, and entertaining story. I just bought a copy for my great-neices who are 9 and 6 years old. I'm sure they will love all three dragon stories as much as I did (and still do).
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on January 3, 2000
I read this book for the first time in 3rd grade. It is a book I reread every year to remember the ability of a great book to take you away. I am now 25 and have to replace the 3rd copy of the book, as it gets so much wear. A wonderful and timeless book for children
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MY FATHER'S DRAGON tells the story of Elmer Elevator. When he hears the plight of a baby dragon captured and enslaved by the residents of Wild Island, he leaves home to free the animal. Armed only with gum, lollipops, magnifying glasses, hair ribbons, and other such items, he sets out. But will this be enough to face lions, tigers, gorillas, and crocodiles?
This is a fun early reader chapter book. The chapters are the perfect length to hook the beginning reader. The story is imaginative, delightful, and downright funny in spots while still being simple enough for young kids to follow. I reread it recently for the first time in years and was surprised at how short and simple it really was. When I was a boy, it seemed much longer and more complicated. There are numerous drawings that wonderfully highlight some of the funnier parts of the story. Adults should enjoy it just as much as their kids.
Readers of this book will want to get the other two in the series and read the further adventures of Elmer. This is a series that will be enjoyed for generations to come.
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I read this book to my five-year old son and his four-year old friend in one sitting. It took us a little over an hour. They were enthralled thru the entire story. It is about the clever tactics a boy employs to free a dragon from a island of animals.
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on May 25, 2015
Avoid this amazon createspace print version. It's not a professionally printed text - instead it's print on demand, and the cover is out of focus, the size is not original, and the print is overlarge. Spend a little more money on the version that is not reprinted from the public domain. This beautiful classic is worth the extra few dollars.
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on October 21, 2013
I should note that I bought this book because my old copies were either lent out or worn out. This is an excellent children's story to use with students who need assistance paying attention to story elements, identifying quotation marks and sequencing story events. I have used this story repeatedly for tutoring children with learning differences, and the story itself gets five stars!

However, I didn't look carefully enough when purchasing. This is some kind of cheap "knock off" version of the original book. The pagination is really sloppy, the original artwork is reprinted with substandard resolution, and for reasons that escape me, there are several blank pages with the title only both before and after the story.

Turns out that this is published by "Petra Books". Try to go to their website [...] Not only does it bounce you to some other site, but it is down for maintenance. Also, the back page documents that it was Made in the USA (that's good), Lexington, KY on 12 October 2013. That's interesting; that's the precise date that I ordered it. I can't decide if publishing hard copy books "to order" like this is a good thing or not.

The part that bugs me the most is that Petra Books has added the subtitle "The Bestselling Children Story" (perhaps to evade copyright infringement?) which is grammatically incorrect. It should say "The Bestselling Children's Story". How can I use this to teach children who need to know the correct use of plural possessives if the publisher of the book doesn't make enough effort to avoid having grammatical errors in the title?

I will probably keep this because I can always use an extra copy, but ick! This is a cheap facsimile of an excellent book.
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