Walker Books, 2020
32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99
Hidden among the boxes of eggs on the supermarket shelf, Ellie discovers a tiny dragon, so small it’s eyes are not yet open. Because its claws tickled the palm of her hand she called it Scratch and made it a bed in a matchbox. But when she asked her mum for some match heads for its breakfast, her mum can only see the matchbox.
And so it is with all the adults in her world. None of them can see Scratch even though as she grows her friends can and Scratch just becomes a normal part of their activities. But, just like Jackie Paper and that other famous dragon, Puff, as Ellie gets older, Scratch begins to fade. Until one day a little boy called Sam found him wandering in the High Street, a fully-grown, house-trained affectionate dragon just looking for a new home…
Bob Graham is a master storyteller who has been delighting young readers around the world for the best part of 40 years with so many charming stories like The Poesy Ring and Home in the Rain , and this gentle story about growing up with an imaginary friend is just as inviting as all the others. His signature style in both text and artworks is there again for a whole new group of fans to enjoy as so many of them will relate to Ellie either as the very young girl or as she grows older. There is a reason that Graham has won so many awards for his writing and it’s encapsulated again in this new book. Perfect for invoking discussions about imaginary friends particularly at this time when so many of our little ones are deprived of the company of real ones, but also for thinking about the possibilities and pitfalls of providing a home for a dragon.