Marmaduke the very popular dragon by Rachel Valentine

cover image

Ill. by Ed Eaves. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408862667
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Friendship, Dragons, Medieval times. A sequel to Marmaduke the very different dragon (2014), this one has friendship as its core theme, as Meg and Marmaduke again do everything together. The two are inseparable, that is until one of the princesses, locked away in her tower asks Marmaduke if they can play together. So popular is this new experience, all the princesses join them, and the other dragons join in and eventually the princes too. Meg is happy that Marmaduke has built up a large friendship group, and all play together well. Meg reminds Marmaduke of the forthcoming Whizz Cone Competition knowing that the two of them will easily win the trophy. She watches the preparations uneasily wondering where Marmaduke has got to, and eventually goes searching for him. He is not in any of the usual places so she goes over the hill and there she hears Marmaduke and Prince Bertie making arrangements to compete for the trophy. She is distraught and when the day comes, sits outside the arena listening to the accolades received by the victorious Marmaduke and Prince Bertie. But Marmaduke suddenly remembers Meg, and goes off to search for her. He hears sobbing and flies down to fold her in his wings, apologising for being such a bad friend. They both realise that there is more to being a friend than meets the eye.
Young children will love the dragon theme, and be intrigued with the sparkly wings, and more importantly come to see that being a friend also involves some responsibilities. Young children will eagerly discuss their own friendship groups and how they work out their differences.
Fran Knight