After the response to the Top Ten Tuesday- Gems with under 1,000 ratings post was immensely positive, so I have decided to make spotlighting underrated treasures a regular fixture with the rules of we’ve read it, LOVE it, has low numbers on GR.
Jill & Dragon – Lesley Barnes
Group: Picture Books
Published: Tate Books 2016
Key Words: fractured fairy tale, dragons, purpose, kindness, toast
GoodReads ratings at time of posting: 80
I like this book and I like Jill because she tries to teach the Dragon something useful. They find how he is useful- he could also be useful as a barbecue too!!!
The Dragon plays music and flower arranging! Oh it’s the Dragon make toast om nom nom I love toast. Toast forever and ever. I love that doggy.
This is a lovely and different story about finding your purpose and how nobody has to be left out because everyone can have a happy ever after if they find their niche.
This is a great story to consider different styles of illustration and fractured fairy tales.
The illustrations are graphic and take inspiration in parts from medieval tapestry; illuminated parchment and inked block print styles across the book. The way the Dragon comes out of the storybook is incredibly creative with the page falling apart and letters and knights tumbling as Jill pulls him out.
The fractured fairy tale aspect fits well as Jill decides an ending where everyone but the Dragon is Happy is not really a ‘they all lived happily ever after’ ending and endeavours to fix it. This could spark discussion of how to ‘fix’ other stories or imaginative activities considering how to find other villains’ positive purposes.
Tabitha was given this for her birthday and both girls enjoy the style, storytelling and design of the book and I think we may look at the follow up Jill & Lion.
Jill and Dragon by Lesley Barnes is published by Tate Books