Where were you when you read the book?
Raife’s favourite time to read is definitely before bed. He certainly likes the peace and quiet to be able to concentrate on his books, and he doesn’t normally get that when his little sister is around.
When we received the book, Raife was quite literally bouncing. Because it was his first ‘big book’, he was super excited to get reading. The morning after receiving up, we woke up to him find him on the sofa excitedly saying “Daddy, I read 18 more pages of my book!”. So he did manage to find some time to read away from his bed.
What did you / your child enjoy about the book?
The first thing he fell in love with was the size. I chose this book from the list of ‘Best Books for 6 Year Olds‘ because although Raife is only five, his reading has always been particularly strong. I thought it would be a great idea to go for something a bit more challenging for him during the summer holidays. He’s used to picture books that he can finish in one sitting, but has always looked on in awe at the books his 10-year old cousin reads. So he was thrilled to have a book that’s “205 PAGES, DADDY!!!!!!!”.
The story felt absolutely perfect for him. It was young enough for him to understand and grasp, while old enough to challenge his reading ability. There was plenty of vocabulary he hadn’t come across before, but the promising thing is that he was able to use his phonics skills to decode them.
The story itself is great. It’s a wondrous fantasy for a five/six year old embedded in modern-day realism. The idea that dragons could exist in Raife’s world made his face light up. Upon hearing that the dragons in the story come from dragon fruit, he gasped and said ‘Daddy, I know dragon fruit!’.
Raife enjoyed the conversational tone of the narrator and main character, Tomas. Most of the books he’s used to are written in the third person, or if they are in the first person, they’re usually written ‘correctly’. He picked up on the fact that the it feels like Tomas is talking to him directly straight away.
He says his favourite character is Flicker, Tomas’ little dragon because “he’s the coolest dragon” and he loves “all the parts where the children talk about the dragons”. The relative lack of illustrations compared to his usual books also helped him to really appreciate the pictures in the book. You could see him really take time to look at them in detail.
I guess the biggest compliment that I or Raife could pay the book is that when he learned that it was the first in a series, he immediately asked us to buy him the others.
Any Surprises / Feedback?
The biggest surprise was probably length of the book. As I mentioned earlier, he’s used to picture books that he can finish easily in one bed time story. So, immediately adapting to a totally different length and style of book was a surprise initially.