Nov 22, 2011
When a Dragon Moves In
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam
A boy is enjoying a beautiful sunny day at the beach. With his swimming trunks on, wearing a towel as a cape, and with pail and bucket in hand, he builds a large sandcastle. "If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in." The boy and his imaginary dragon have a wonderful day at the beach: swimming, flying kites and roasting marshmallows. He tries to convince his family that the dragon is real by showing them a feather from his wing (a seagull feather) and one of his sharp teeth (a broken shell), but they don't believe him. When he starts getting in trouble for eating all the food (because the dragon was hungry) and for spraying his sister with sand (because she says there is no such thing as a dragon), the boy gets scolded by his parents: "I think we've had enough of this dragon business." The boy destroys his sandcastle and orders his dragon to leave. There is always tomorrow to build a new perfect castle.
When a Dragon Moves In is a fun read aloud. It follows the familiar structure of "if you...then." I've used this type of book in my classroom and had students create their own "if, then" picture books and they have a blast. The Illustrations by McWilliam are wonderful (I loved his work on the delightful I Need My Monster). Kids will enjoy the dragon's antics and the boy's imaginative play.