Review Blog

Aug 20 2019

My dad is a dragon by Damon Young

cover image

Illus. by Peter Carnavas. UQP, 2019. ISBN: 9780702260490.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Fathers, Dragons. With a series of rhyming pairs of lines Young describes an overview of various fathers and what they do in their families. From dads who collect cars or stockpile sneakers, collect swords, scimitars and sabres, my dad is a dragon who collects chocolate gold.
Then some dads have pencils to design bridges or trolleys for fridges, or wear a special suit to collect honey, while my dad is a dragon who loves to sing.
On again, to dads who shriek 'shiver' or 'yow' or why' my dad is a dragon with blazing chilli breath.
Each set of rhyming lines introduces the reader to a range of what dads do, ending with 'my dad is a dragon' raising the expectations of the reader.
They will love reading of the variousness of fathers' roles within the family, and have fun sharing what their fathers do. The repeated lines will evoke a response as the children turn the page to read for themselves: 'but my dad is a dragon . . . and laugh out loud at the offered line.
The next set of lines refers to food, with some dads grabbing the potatoes from a hotpot, or the pork bun form the table spinner, or pinch the sprinkles from the top of a birthday cake, but my dad is a dragon, with smoky charcoal steaks.
And on the tale goes until we find out why dad is a dragon, and all is well as the dragon folds his wings around his offspring and they fall asleep.
Carnavas' ink and watercolour illustrations are always a treat, evoking laughs from the reading audience, and recognition from the adults, reflecting the variety of fathers and the work they do in the home. I always admire the expressions Carnavas gets on his faces: a few lines and he has them happy, struggling, abashed, in control (or not), sad, worried or glad.
This is the sixth book in the series from UQP, including My Nanna is a Ninja, My pop is a pirate, My mum is a magician, My sister is a superhero and My brother is a beast, written and illustrated by Young and Carnavas. Teacher's notes are available.
Fran Knight

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