The Boy who Grew Dragons – Andy Shepherd Illustrated by Sarah Ogilvie

This post is participating in #KidBookBingo organised and hosted by @AnnalieseAvery on Twitter. Every day there is an opportunity to post a review of the book of the day.

We were late to this party as I originally wanted this to be something that Littlefae might read with me which is why I held out so long, but in the end it became a read aloud because, well, Dragons!!

This book is inspiring, creative, funny and eww disgusting (whilst giggling profusely) in spades. We adored this adventure with Tomas and Flicker and are planning to read the others.

Book cover of the Boy who Grew Dragons
Cover design by Nick Stearn, Illustrations by Sara Ogilvie

Tomas’ grandad is hoping to build his own fruit garden at the bottom of his wilderness strewn jumble of a back garden, and Tomas is roped in to help where he comes across a curious tree and takes one of the fruit home.

This fruit hatches into a dragon and lots of poo speckled events occur as Tomas grapples with becoming a Daddy Of Dragon including explosive poo, poo in porridge, poo on the PE kit, a lot of poo to be honest, then there’s the issue of keeping his baby sister quiet about the dragons and then what about the other fruit, are they Dragons too?

And how long can he keep the secret from his parents?

A photograph of a dragonfruit
I can’t guarantee a real dragonfruit will contain your own live dragon!

With singed pages, scratches and splatters you are immediately immersed in the world of Tomas and Flicker. The wonderful illustrations by Sara Ogilvie immediately accent and give us a sense of character and feel to the narrative.

Littlefae was clutching pearls throughout shocked at all the mentions of poo (porridge has perplexed her still) and hilariously prompting a question which I had to put to Andy on Twitter who explained gently that pooping is what baby anything’s do, especially dragons. Littlefae took this quite well remarking to me that Tinyfae had pooped a lot when she was a small baby and that had been gross too!!

What I adored the most about this comedy caper was the true heart in it. You immediately care for Tomas and his family, he feels guilty about how his family had to change their lives because he was born with a hole in the heart, but that just shows what is wonderful about his family- they truly care and it’s wonderful to see a busy and tired but loving family.

The family dynamics are full of tiny heartfelt gestures from the pet names to indulging Lolly’s love of connect 4 and the way they defend each other. This transfers to Tomas’ friendship circle too.
It also is wonderful for children with long term health conditions to see that it’s ok to have feelings about it and their parents may read along and consider the sentiment of how Tomas is somewhat frustrated at being limited by his heart condition (his is now fixed) because of his family’s memories and fear.

I also love that it hits the target age group with the realities of caring for a pet, something often requested at this age but not always stepping up to the responsibilities.
It’s a gentle reality check using fantasy scattered throughout creating this wonderful mix of caring for other people and learning to care for a pet.

The inspiring and playful experience from reading this book and the play and craft potential from it too makes it a must read for children making that jump from early readers to Middle grade with its accessible chatty tone and illustrations throughout The Boy who Grew Dragons is a hug and a giggle in a book.

The Boy who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd is published by Piccadilly and available online and from bookstores.

As with participation in #KidBookBingo reviews or edits thereof are also cross-posted on Amazon, GoodReads and Toppsta

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