Dragons get a bad reputation, in Caryl Hart and Rosalind Beardshaw’s super sweet ‘When a Dragon Comes to Stay’ a trio of friends show how dragons can really be wonderfully behaved creatures, not at all stroppy or shouty when they try in this guide to manners for young children.
A Dragon comes to visit and you may be concerned that they will be rude, messy, selfish with toys, have tantrums at bedtime and refuse to brush their teeth or wear pyjamas but OH NO!!
You will be surprised at how good Little Dragons can endeavour to be with a little help front their friends…
This is just the sweetest little book about manners and behaviour juxtaposing the typical behaviours that children can tend to display with gentle redirection to more positive behaviour.
“Does she snatch and keep the toys
away from other girls and boys?
Why no Dragons don’t do that!
A dragon knows she must play fair
And wait her turn and always share.”
At points it reminded me of the gentle correction from My Big Shouting Day but in a much sweeter and role-modelling way. There will be snorts and chortles from parents at times throughout that your own little dragon has these struggles too.
However it’s not in a chastising or shaming way, it’s in a much more positive light reminding parents too that children don’t set out to sabotage games or be shouty, they need help and practice to meet expectations with the awareness that sometimes dragons do play up but there’s usually reasons such as being sad or tired (‘tirate’ in this house) but it’s something that can be addressed with kindness and love.
As someone with a child who struggles with hand and wrist strength but is trying hard at writing and using cutlery it was nice to see in the illustrations that Dragon’s struggles when eating were helped by moving to more supportive seating thus alleviating some wobbly feelings children may have if they are clumsy at the table- and redirecting towards the things you have more control over such as choosing good manners for example not shouting, banging or spilling food on purpose.
The artwork by Rosalind Beard is beautiful, playful and bright but in calming colours, bright happy faces and soft gentle shapes with use of shadow and smudge for depth and texture.
Little dragon is trying hard to behave throughout as you can see the upset on their face when they don’t get it right, this is tangible to the child.
This is a lovely and gently funny book about manners and making good choices even if you need to keep practicing and gives security that like dragon, children are worth it and loved even when they go through these struggles.
When a Dragon Comes to Stay by Caryl Hart and Rosalind Beardshaw is published by Nosy Crow.