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My Father's Dragon

Last updated Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Author: Ruth Stiles Gannett
Illustrator: Ruth Chrisman Gannett
Date of Publication: 1948
ISBN: 1940177448
Grade Level: 3rd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2019

Synopsis: The Newbery Honor-winning classic about a daring dragon rescue! It is about a young boy named Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon. When Elmer Elevator hears about the baby dragon being held captive on Wild Island, he knows just what to do. First, he packs his knapsack with important supplies, like chewing gum, lollipops, and lots of rubberbands. Then he stows away on a ship headed for theisland. Along the way, Elmer meets many exotic animals. Each tries to sidetrack him, but Elmer has sometricks up his sleeve . . . or more precisely, in his knapsack. One way or another, he will rescue the dragon!

Note to readers:
•  The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as "my father", giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you ever been to a zoo? If so, what animals did you see?
•  Do any of you have pets? What kind?


•  Knapsack - a canvas, nylon, or leather bag for clothes, food, and other supplies, carried on the back by soldiers, hikers, etc.
•  Uncomfortable - causing discomfort or distress; painful; irritating.in a state of discomfort; uneasy; conscious of stress or strain.
•  Inconvenient - not easily accessible or at hand:The phone is in an inconvenient place.inopportune; untimely: an inconvenient time for a visit. not suiting one's needs or purposes:
•  Miserable - wretchedly unhappy, uneasy, or uncomfortable: miserable victims of war. wretchedly poor; needy. of wretched character or quality; contemptible: a miserable villain. attended with or causing misery: a miserable existence. manifesting misery. worthy of pity; deplorable:
•  Furnace -a structure or apparatus in which heat may be generated, as for heating houses, smelting ores, or producing steam. a place characterized by intense heat: The volcano was a seething furnace.
•  Magnifying Glass - a lens that produces an enlarged image of an object.
•  Night watchman - watchman. Cricket . a batsman who is sent in to bat just before the end of a day's play and continues his innings on the next day of play.
•  Tangerine - citrus fruit, like a small orange, that grows on a thorny tree

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Would you like to travel to a place where there are wild animals?
•  What do you think the world would be like if dragons were real?

Craft ideas:
•  Make a Mother's Day card. Mother's Day (for mother, aunt, grandmother, someone who is like a mother to you.)
•  Draw a dragon or make one out of construction paper
•  Draw any of the animals mentioned in this book.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!