How to Hatch a Dragon
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Bunny has bought his best friend Bird a present. Carefully, he takes it out of the box and places it on a large rock telling Bird it is a dragon egg, and he knows that because he bought it from the dragon-egg shop.
Bird has a few questions about his gift so together they sit in front of the rock and work their way through the instructions. Meanwhile, behind them…
This is the first in a new series for our youngest readers that not only celebrates friendship and fun but is also going to teach them so much about stories, reading and how to use the words and the pictures together because in this story, all the action is happening in the illustrations! As Bunny is sharing what he is learning from the instruction sheet, magical things are happening in the background that they are oblivious to, but which the astute reader will be marvelling at. It’s a bit like the old=time pantomime where the lead characters are unaware of other goings-on and the audience has to shout out warnings! Don’t be surprised if that is what your young reader does!
As well as engaging the readers in such a clever way, this has the potential to really open a child’s reading journey because Bland is also the author of the series that began with The Very Cranky Bear which will be familiar to so many so this offers an opportunity to discuss authors and how we often choose new reads because we have enjoyed the author’s work before. Conversely, if the little one likes How to Hatch a Dragon it offers the opportunity to search out other titles by the same author.
It also introduces the concept of a series to little ones so they can be encouraged to think about what they learn about Bunny and Bird from this story so when the next one is released, they can be prompted to recall that and focus their thoughts and energy into enjoying the next episode.
Bland says he always wanted to be a cartoonist and a writer, but it wasn’t until he was in his 20s and got a job at a bookshop and then read “every picture book that hit the shelves” that he finally discovered his own style and how to put being both storyteller and illustrator together. Our youngest readers are so glad that he did.