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Hunting for Dragons
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Dressed in unwieldy armour which includes a colander breastplate and saucepan helmet, a small but intrepid dragon hunter searches the family home. Armed with lots of imagination and convinced there are dragons everywhere, the child 'sees' one in every room, despite the rest of the family's scepticism. The 'dragons' are cleverly visually constructed, in an artfully arranged pile of laundry or--my favourite--a dinner-plate with a steak dragon's head, complete with a pea eye and cauliflower floret puff of smoke. Finally, the unremitting search reveals a real but--thankfully!-- friendly dragon. The mixture of fear and fascination children feel, as well as the compulsion to 'hunt down' those things that frighten them, will give young readers much to connect with. Illustrated differently, this could be quite a scary book, but Whatley's brightly painted illustrations add a sense of cheerfulness and exuberance that is a trademark of his work and seems to offer reassurance of a happy ending. This would make a nice edition to any preschool, school or public library. It offers creative scope for use with groups of children, both visually, in terms of creating things from other things, and emotionally. For use with ages three to seven. Jenny Gorman is the children's bookseller at Megalong Books, Leura

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