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My Father's Dragon (My Father's Dragon, #1)
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My Father's Dragon

(My Father's Dragon #1)

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  37,379 ratings  ·  2,010 reviews
Elmer Elevator (narrator's father as a boy) runs away with an old alley cat to rescue a flying baby dragon being exploited on a faraway island. With the help of two dozen pink lollipops, rubber bands, chewing gum, and a fine-toothed comb, Elmer disarms the fiercest of beasts on Wild Island. ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Yearling (first published 1948)
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Laura No animals die in this book. It's basically about a little boy who plays harmless practical jokes on some animals in order to divert their attention a…moreNo animals die in this book. It's basically about a little boy who plays harmless practical jokes on some animals in order to divert their attention away from the dragon so he can rescue it.

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Average rating 4.08  · 
Rating details
 ·  37,379 ratings  ·  2,010 reviews

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Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My Father's Dragon is a childhood favorite that will never get old. It's a perfect read out loud story for young readers. The black and white illustrations are delightful and it's a story that will be enjoyed forever. 5***** ...more
Dawn Marie
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kiddos
In the third grade, I met Mrs. Palombi, my favorite teacher ever. She taught us how to churn butter (you sit in a circle, pass around a bottle of heavy cream that everyone takes a turn shaking up, and spread the resulting curds on Ritz crackers), she brought a cotton candy machine to the Fall Festival (during the summer, she ran a beach shack that sold summer treats) and let you “roll your own” as big as you wanted, and every holiday she’d present us with little pins she crocheted herself to com ...more
Spencer Orey
Jun 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cool classic book with a fairytale logic. The language is a bit dated (it's from the 40s!), and there are threats of violence and real violence that's all a bit much. But my kid who is way too young for this book was riveted and made me read it in one sitting to see the animals and the dragon. So it's definitely doing something well. ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Delightful classic 1948 children's book for the 8-13 age range, with a retro vibe and old-fashioned illustrations. This is a great kid's fantasy about a boy's adventures with his dragon. My kids loved this book (and its two sequels) when they were young.

The narrator tells about his father's adventures when he was a boy. Elmer makes friends with a talking alley cat (talking animals being taken very much for granted here), and the cat tells him about a tropical island called Wild Island, cut nearl
Overall, it was a lovely enough book that it is worth a read, but I don't think this is one we will revisit.

Both of my littles sat while we read this one over a few nights. It's not as long as some of the other books we've read so my three year old was able to stick around for most of it. This wasn't a favorite but they did stay engaged. I had heard such wonderful things about the story that I think I was expecting something a little different.
Plus a dragon... I mean, that's gotta be a win right
Drew Graham
Dec 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: me
I loved this book as a kid, and I seem to recall it was the first chapter book I ever read. (Upon my discovery of the Table of Contents, I thought its purpose was so that you could go there and decide which chapter you wanted to read instead of having to read through the whole thing.) Years later I remember having loved it, but very little about the story or the characters, so I decided to give this short Newberry winner a quick read, and it was very quick indeed. Told from the point of view of ...more
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Annabelle give it 4 Stars.

I thought it was a good book.
Because it was fun.
What made it fun?
The pictures, I loved looking at them.
What else?
The words. I liked reading them to get a chore done.
Would you recommend this book to others to read?
Yeah, I think other people would like this book.
Like who?
I think Adelyn and Trinity might like it.
What would they like about it?
I think they would sort of things some things would be a little silly.
What was silly?
Like, lions using brushes and combs and get
Dec 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
I received an advance reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

My Father's Dragon is a book from the 1940s that has been reprinted and still as loved today by all accounts as it was years ago. This is the first time I've ever come across it and read it and it was really enjoyable!
The main character us Elmer. Elmer rescues an alley cat and nurses her for weeks. After hearing Elmers wish to be able to fly, the cat informs Elmer about a bab
Faith M ✨
This was truly delightful! I'm a big fan of children's fantasy, as it turns out, because I loved every minute of this! It's whimsical and magical and really just great. It has the same vibe as The Little Prince, Peter Pan, and Alice in Wonderland, but a bit lighter on the dark themes. It's definitely something I'm going to be reading to my future children. ...more
Robin Gaphni
May 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My Father's Dragon is a perfect first chapter book to read to your four or five year old because there are pictures on almost every page. The chapters are short and simple, and it moves along at a nice pace. It’s action based, which is what makes it so attractive to younger readers. I think it has special appeal to kids who don’t like to sit still for a book. Both of my sons and my daughter count it as one of their favorite books from childhood.

Briefly, it’s the story of Elmer Elevator, a nine-y
Megan Olsen
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After a hard morning of sickness, I put my cranky 7-year-old son in his bed to rest, and began playing this audiobook from my phone to catch a few minutes of child-free peace. (Not our usual, snuggle-and-read-together, cover-of-parenting-magazine approach to books, but it was one of those "Jesus-take-the-wheel" kind of days.)

When I left, he was whining that he didn't want to be in bed and definitely didn't want to listen to a book, so I promised him he'd only have to listen for fifteen minutes o
Aug 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Parents; Children
Recommended to Carmen by: Alice
Elmer saves an alley cat and feeds her for weeks. In return, the cat - upon hearing Elmer's wish to fly - tells him about a baby dragon that is being held captive on the far off Wild Island.

Elmer sneaks out of his house one night with chewing gum, two dozen pink lollipops, a package of rubber bands, black rubber boots, a compass, a toothbrush and a tube of tooth paste, six magnifying glasses, a very sharp jackknife, a comb and a hairbrush, seven hair ribbons of different colors, an empty grain b
Oct 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
I got a copy of this book to read with my five year old son. It is a very fun and clever children’s read with some great lessons and some wonderful illustrations.

When Elmer Elevator hears about the plight of a poor overworked baby dragon from an old neighborhood cat he is determined to save the dragon. He travels to Wild Island and, through a series of crazy events, saves the dragon from the animals keeping it prisoner.

This book was first published in 1948 and I am amazed at how well it has aged
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: american
okay so recently I haven't read any real books. I apologize but I'm fucking inundated in research on the difference between sex typed traits and sex roles and I"m going crazy enough as it is. I will start actually reading again soon I just needed a moment of calm to get through the storm

recently I've started a habit of rereading. I mean are books as good as I thought? I mean I was historically quite a little idiot (just wait till I reread nothing but the truth). Well this book is. I think a lot
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book, and I liked this audio version even more. It is freely available at, and it is read by the most adorable little boy who does a simply excellent job. Highly recommended for children age 4–8. My five-year-old son enjoyed it very much.
Tayler Steele
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of my all-time favorite children's books. ...more
Rachel Hyland
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I feel like the most important detail to know about this book is that there really isn't much dragon in it. It's more about the journey to the dragon, to rescue the dragon, who is at the mercy of a lion, for no very understandable reason. The story is told by the son of the hero, Elmer Elevator, and he does not for a moment doubt the veracity of this childhood tale, and so we don't either. We believe the talkative and sage alley cat who tells Elmer about the captive dragon, Elmer's solo childhoo ...more
Jun 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-ya
Somehow I’d never read this before, so discovering it with my granddaughter was doubly fun. She’s six, and I read it through for her in one sitting. Same for the sequel. She enjoyed matching the episodes to the map.
Friend of Pixie
The first book really worried 4-year-old Logan. He didn't understand why the animals were being so mean to the baby dragon and each chapter brought new worries about what the animals would do to the boy. But we'd talk at the beginning of each chapter about how the boy had everything he needed in his bag to deal with situations that came up and then we'd try to guess which of his random collection of stuff he'd need. He liked the second book better. The third book was brought more worries about w ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by my dear friend (and kindergarten teacher) Megan. We read this over the course of two nights. The kids really loved it, especially Mimi. I had to do a little quick editing in some spots, but I've gotten pretty good at that over the years. It was written in the 1940's, so there were sentences like: 'She whipped my father and threw the cat out the door", which became, 'She punished my father...' when I read it to the kids. Things like that. But the kids really lov ...more
Sep 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
A great first novel to read aloud or with your kids. They will love the adventure and the mischief of all the animals. It's a great novel for reading comprehension and learning about foreshadowing. Highly recommend for your little bookworms! ...more
Brent Thomas
Aug 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Spent the last 10 nights reading this with my 6yo. He loved all the various animal encounters and the charming illustrations. A fun story with plenty of wonder.
Jun 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-alouds
Delightful! The short chapters follow a pattern so cale was really able to remember what happened I the story. Only 10 chapters. Great place to begin reading aloud!
RB Love
Feb 06, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2009
Finally got through My Father's Dragon with the restless Meteor. He's more of an action kind of guy as opposed to a boy who can be read to. He'd rather wrestle.
Good first chapter book all around, I suppose. A little boring really. The most interesting thing about it, I thought, was that it's had such a long shelf life, (1948), without my ever having heard of it, (my older boys said that they thought they remembered their 3rd grade teacher reading it to them in class) and that it was written by R
J. Boo
Jan 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-to-kids
Pleasant little illustrated chapter book. "My Father" sneaks to an animal-ruled island in order to rescue a baby dragon. Will add to review after testing it on the kids....
DS1 (5) & DD1 (3) thought it was great, and liked the way Elmer used his inventory of random objects to triumph over the dangers of the island. Grew on me with re-reading, too. Raising my rating from 3 -> 4.

Available on Gutenberg, despite its relative recency.

The following site has an excellent overview of the book,
This was a childhood favorite and one of the first books I remember reading. I actually own a very old copy that belonged to my mother and her sisters when they were young girls.
Several years ago I read this aloud to my two oldest kids and recently realized I needed to read it to my middle son. He loved it, thought it was very funny and is eager for me to read him the next book.
Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob)
Cute, but, ending is a bit abrupt. I liked it right up until the ending. My daughter was a bit disappointed that they didn't go back and see the old cat. She was really hoping the old cat would appear again.

May 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved these! I think we all did projects based on the series in 2nd grade... =)
First Second Books
I'm re-reading MY FATHER'S DRAGON and loving it as much as I did when I was eight, but for different reasons. ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great first chapter book for little ones! My 4.5 year old & I both loved it & couldn't wait for bedtime to read another chapter. ...more
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Ruth Stiles Gannett wrote My Father's Dragon just a few years after her graduation from Vassar College in 1944.

She lives in Upstate New York.


Other books in the series

My Father's Dragon (3 books)
  • Elmer and the Dragon (My Father's Dragon, #2)
  • The Dragons of Blueland (My Father's Dragon, #3)

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“Island and Tangerina are joined together by a long string of rocks, but people never go to Wild Island because it’s mostly jungle and inhabited by very wild animals. So, I decided to go across the rocks and explore it for myself. It certainly is an interesting place, but I saw something there that made me want to weep.” 0 likes
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