Books that involve runaways and dangerous settings are magnets for young readers. Add a map and danger and you have a book that will intrigue and delight children which is why My Father’s Dragon has been in print since 1948.
My Father’s Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett (author) and Ruth Chrisman Gannett (illustrator) Alfred A. Knopf publishing
So why the letter I? Because the book is set on the the Island of Tangerina and Wild Island which you immediately see on the endpapers which actually give the exact location of the events in the story:
This is the story of the narrator’s father, Elmer, who meets a talking cat (all the animals in this book talk – there’s no explanation so just go with it) who tells him about a baby dragon kept captive on Wild Island to serve as a flying taxi service for the animal residents. Elmer is angry with his mother and wants to rescue the dragon so he runs away. He packs just what he needs, from lollipops to rubber bands, which enable him to get past the hungry lions, boars, tigers, crocodiles, a gorilla, and a rhinoceros to rescue the dragon.
The islands are characters themselves. The Island of Tangerina supplies Elmer with food. Wild Island “is practically cut in two by a very wide and very muddy river… the animals there are very lazy, and they used to hate having to go all the way around the beginning of this river to get to the other side of the island.” Directional signs come in handy:
Elmer figures out how to trick the animals, cross the river,
and rescue the dragon.
Elmer and the dragon fly away to further adventures in Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.