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Green, John.

Illustrated by Linda Hendry. Richmond Hill (Ont.), North Winds Press (a Division of Scholastic-TAB), 1987. 30pp, paperbound boards, $13.95, ISBN 0-590-71705-7. CIP

Pre-School to Grade 3
Reviewed by Janet Tomkins

Volume 16 Number 1
1988 January

This picture book tells the story of Jonathan Longfellow Magee, who awakes one morning to find a huge dragon in his closet. The dragon isn't dangerous-it's just embarrassed and anxious to get back to its nice roomy cave. Jonathan says that he'll try to help, and also asks the dragon whether or not it breathes fire. "Only when I sneeze," replies the dragon, "and I only do that when I'm nervous."

When Jonathan tries to tell his parents about the dragon, he isn't taken seriously, and the same thing happens when he mentions it to his brother. The letter carrier, the delivery boy from the meat market, and his friends at school don't believe him either. Finally Jonathan approaches his teacher, but even the teacher says, "Maybe you just imagined you saw a dragon." Eventually, Jonathan solves both his problems. He gets people to believe him, and he helps the dragon return to its home-but not without some commotion first.

Children will enjoy the unpretentious colour illustrations, which include a fair amount of incidental detail. Since dragon stories apparently have timeless appeal, this new title is recommended. One small quibble: the explanation of where the dragon came from (and how it gets back) may confuse young readers. The dragon tells Jonathan that "I was chasing a knight through the forest when he disappeared around a corner. 1 was going so fast I couldn't stop, and I guess I skidded off the page." Jonathan figures that the dragon must have popped out of a book about knights and dragons that he brought home from the library, but small children may find this now sequitur somewhat puzzling.

Janet Tomkins, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, Alta.
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