Saturday, 28 June 2014
Review: Dragon Loves Penguin by Debi Gliori
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Format: Large paperback
Released: June 19th, 2014
And so begins the heartwarming tale of a dragon in need of an egg and an abandoned egg in need of a mummy. It seems like the perfect fit, but what happens when that egg hatches and the little baby doesn't look like all the other dragons (in fact, he looks remarkably like a penguin)? Of course, his mummy loves him no matter what. But the other babies aren't so sure. Little do they know that being different can be good and soon their little feathered friend is saving the day.
The back cover of Dragon Loves Penguin states that this book is 'guaranteed to melt all hearts'. And you know what? There never was a truer statement. When I got to the end of this lovely, lovely story, I flipped back and read it again. On a second read it was just as good, just as cute and a brilliant introduction to the works of Debi Gliori.
One day a dragon with no eggs of her own finds an abandoned egg on the ice, she takes it and brings the baby penguin up as her own. She loves it and teaches it how to survive, even when all the other dragons turn on it and make it feel inferior and unwelcome. The dragon does all she can for her penguin, never once caring that it's a different species or that it's made of fluffy stuff. She loves it and that's that.
Besides being a really nice story, Dragon Loves Penguin teaches children that it's okay to be different to everyone else. It's okay to have unusual clothes or hairstyles, and it's okay to be a different race to other people. There's no one normal state in the world, and there's a way for everyone to fit in and exist together. Could a picture book carry a message any better than that?! I don't think it could.
Gliori's illustrations are also fantastic, making this fan of dragons and penguins very happy indeed. The dragons are so well realised and the penguins ridiculously cute - I'm sure children will love gazing at every single page of this book. There's a nice little twist to the story too, one that makes it even better than I originally thought!
Dragon Loves Penguin is my first foray into the picture book world of Debi Gliori and I hope it won't be my last. I don't keep all my picture books after I've read them but this one is definitely staying with me - that's how much I enjoyed it. Anything with dragons usually has a permanent place on my bookshelf, but dragons AND penguins?! Well, there was never any doubt that this would become an instant favourite!