HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: A Friend for Dragon
Author and Illustrator: Dav Pilkey
Publisher: Scholastic, 1994
ISBN-13: 978-0756982997 (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0756982995 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 978-0531070543 (Paperback)
ISBN-10: 0531070549 (Paperback)
Related website: http://www.Pilkey.com (author)
Language level: 1
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 6 and up
Rating: **** 4 stars (GOOD)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Pilkey, Dav. A Friend for Dragon (published in 1994 by Scholastic). In this first book of the Dragon Tales Series a lonely little dragon ventures into the world looking for a friend, but all the animals are preoccupied, and no one will play with him, so he sits down beneath a tree, only to be bopped on the head by an apple. He is tricked into thinking he has found a friend after a snake happens by and decides to make the apple seem like it’s talking. “Hi, I’ll be your friend.” Dragon picks up the apple, takes it home, and prepares food for it, never suspecting that it can’t really talk. Then the apple appears to be getting sick when a hungry walrus eats part of it, and Dragon becomes worried, so he takes it to the doctor where its health suddenly worsens. He becomes grief stricken when he believes the apple is lost to him. Will he have his friend back again?
There are five little vignettes in this witty tale of friendship and they all deal with Dragon’s funny-sweet relationship with the apple. Most kids have been lonely at times, and will readily identify with Dragon when he quickly takes to his new friend. One reviewer called the bright, inviting artwork stunning, “at times reminiscent of Van Gogh.” It is sad when Dragon comes from the doctor with a brown mushy thing. The chapter titled “Goodbye” has Dragon realizing that the apple is dead, burying his friend, and going through a grieving process until he meets lots of new friends, but It’s actually quite tender and makes the next chapter all the sweeter when an apple tree springs up to take away Dragon’s sadness, thus ending the story on an upbeat, optimistic tone.
Dav Pilkey is the Caldecott Honor Award-winning author and illustrator of more than forty books for children. Those who do not like the “Captain Underpants” series may want to be aware that Pilkey is also the author of it. We did not care for “Captain Underpants” ourselves, but we actually read the “Dragon Tales” series before we heard about “Captain Underpants,” and found the “Dragon Tales” to be rather cute, if a bit silly. Other “Dragon Tales” books include Dragon’s Fat Cat, Dragon Gets By, Dragon’s Merry Christmas, and Dragon’s Halloween.