Jun 3, 2011
Raising Dragons by Jerdine Nolen
Illustrated by Elise Primavera
Her Pa didn't know anything about raising dragons and neither did her Ma. "Now me, I knew everything about dragons, and I knew that they were real." One Sunday, during her before-supper walk, Cupcake finds a large egg inside a cave. Although her Pa asks her to stay away, and she always minded her parents, she just couldn't resist and went to check the cave day after day, until the egg hatched with a Crack that "was louder than one hundred firecrackers on the Fourth of July", and a dragon poked through the shell. "It was love at first sight." Cupcake named the dragon Hank and soon they became inseparable. Hank helped around the farm, plowing the fields, tending the crops and even fanning away the heat that was threatening the tomato crops. When the corn crop seem to get too large for the family to manage, Hank turned it into popcorn using his fire breath and the family was able to sell it for a profit. Hank earned the love and appreciation of Ma and Pa. Soon, though, Cupcake knew it was time for Hank to go. He had grown to be a full size dragon and the farm wasn't right for him anymore. Cupcake found an Atlas that charted a dragon island and flew there on Hank's shoulders. She left him there, but not before Hank gave her more dragon eggs to bring back home to raise, just like she had raised him. "The same way Pa knew that farming was in his blood, I knew that raising dragons was in mine."
Raising Dragons has a fabulous final sentence: "There are some things you just know." Although her parents doubt her at first and think that she's imagining things, Cupcake knew deep inside her heart that she was meant to meet a dragon and eventually become in charge of raising dragons. This is a beautiful tale of friendship and perseverance. The illustrations are gorgeous, the language has a nice tone and rhythm and the story is very sweet.