Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 264

Picture Book: Raising Dragons

Author: Jerdine Nolen

Illustrator: Elise Primavera

Summary: From the point of view of a delightful farm girl, this book is about discovering who you are meant to be. The narrator finds a large, unusual egg. Although her father’s discourages her, she cannot stay away from the egg. When a dragon hatches, she names him Hank and quickly begins to tend him and teach him. She respects that her parents are wary of Hank, but she is determined to raise him. When Hank finds unusual ways to contribute to the family farm, they are all amazed. However, when it is time for Hank to be with his own kind, the narrator takes him to a dragon island she’s read about in a book. As she reluctantly says goodbye, she is given a wonderfully affirming gift by Hank: a wheelbarrow full of dragon eggs to hatch and raise on her farm. She knows that raising dragons is in her blood. It’s what she’s meant to do so she does just that, at her parents’ farm with their blessing.

Hanna’s Comments: This book has been one of my favorite picture books for years. I’ve read it to many elementary classes. Why do I love it? I love the voice and authenticity of the narrator. It’s fun to read aloud for these reasons. I love the family dynamics, especially the parents’ caution and then acceptance of Hank. Also, I love the narrator’s willingness to accept saying goodbye to Hank and then embrace her identity and vocation. I think it’s good for children to begin thinking early about their God-given gifts, passions, and what they might be meant to do vocationally, especially if it involves giving back to the world. Note that the newest version of this book includes some story-related activities.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Scholastic, 1998

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 6 and up, 1st and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: An amateur video is available at

PBT Category: Pre 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, adoption, aspirations/dreams, call/calling/vocation, caring/tending, commitment, companionship, fear, gardening/planting/pruning/sewing, gifts/talents, individuality/uniqueness, mentors/teachers, mission, orphans, parents/parental love, passion, purpose, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30); Barnabus helping Jesus’ disciples accept Paul (the book of Acts); having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them (Romans 12:6)

Idea(s) for Application: Read this book to children who are learning about important teachers in the Holy Scriptures especially those who help dispel fears such as Barnabus. 

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