My fathers dragon reading level
My Fathers Dragon by Ruth Stiles GannettIn the third grade, I met Mrs. Palombi, my favorite teacher ever. She taught us how to churn butter (you sit in a circle, pass around a bottle of heavy cream that everyone takes a turn shaking up, and spread the resulting curds on Ritz crackers), she brought a cotton candy machine to the Fall Festival (during the summer, she ran a beach shack that sold summer treats) and let you “roll your own” as big as you wanted, and every holiday she’d present us with little pins she crocheted herself to commemorate the occasion (a Jack O’ Lantern for Halloween, Santa for Christmas, a shamrock for St. Patrick’s day…). More than her big bubble of candyfloss bleachblonde hair and her Savage Tan, I remember her gravelly Virginia Slims voice.
Near the end of every school day, before the bell rang, Mrs. Palombi would turn the lights off, have us put our heads down and read to us from My Father’s Dragon, Mr. Popper’s Penguins and James and the Giant Peach. All three are favorites of mine, but I’m pimping Dragon first because it seems a bit more obscure.
Part of the reason that I’ve always liked the book is Ruth Stiles Gannett’s clever, sweet-tempered story, and the fact that it has some of the most charming illustrations I’ve ever seen—drawn by her step-mother, Ruth Chrisman Gannett. (My favorite is the one they generally use as the cover, which has always kind of tickled me – the book is called My Father’s Dragon, but the cover features a dandy Lion and no dragon to be seen. The endpage map of the islands is also especially adorable.)
The “father” of the title is one Elmer Elevator, polite, cool under fire, and an absolute sweetheart in a jaunty little cap. He makes friends with an alley cat who tells him about a baby dragon being held captive on Wild Island. Elmer resolves to rescue the dragon, and with the cat’s sage advice, carefully packs for his trip. With a little planning and an inventive spirit, Elmer sidesteps all manner of hazards (for example, menacing tigers can be placated with chewing gum and a little stretching of the truth—Elmer’s basically a kinder, gentler MacGuyver) and saves the day. If you have children of your own, or just dig patently endearing adventure stories, I can’t recommend My Father’s Dragon enough.
Three Tales of My Father's Dragon My Father's Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, the Dragons of Blueland
The all time favorite tale of Elmer Elevator and his travels to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon from the clutches of the fierce beasts who live there. Elmer is a boy who cleverly outwits the beasts with silly arsenal of lollipops, gum, and other unlikely tricks. An abundance of pictures, light-hearted fun, and a happy ending make this a great first chapter book even for pre-schoolers. Yet the plot and plenty of chances to predict what will happen keep it exciting enough for older kids to read alone. This is the first in a trilogy of three books although all three stand alone as great stories.
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My Father's Dragon. Doreen Weiss, 2nd Grade Teacher. It is well written as it offers a perfect early chapter book. There are just enough illustrations and ample opportunities to practice visualization. I have used this book with my students for twenty years, and I must admit I never tire of reading it and enjoying it once again with my students. Reading Level Chart Enter a search query. For full access to Teacher Resources, please log in to Booksource.
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I loved the map on the endpapers, and the careful way Elmer ran away, with his list of useful objects. Five years ago I was tapped along with some other librarians to fill in at a local elementary school and read to a couple classes of kids while their librarian was gone. I, sad to say, at the time had never read the book. So I picked up a nice new copy and headed over there. Class after class of third graders sat there, jaws literally agape, as I read from a book that was a good 60 years old. Doubt you the power of a great story? Look no further.