This is the second book review from my random picture book game. (For those who missed my last post: I randomly grabbed two picture books from the library to do reviews for my blog. It’s not only a chance for me to find new treasures, it’s a fun challenge to do a review on a book at random.) This book selection: There’s a Dragon Downstairs by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Amanda Harvey, copyright 2003.
Sophie hears a dragon, “rattling through the cat flap” every night, “Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark.”
At first, she wakes her parents up. They search the house with all of the lights on. The following morning, “Sophie thought that perhaps there was no dragon.” But the night always proves her wrong.
She decides it’s time to face the dragon. A series of nights follow where she dresses herself up in what she thinks is suitable for confronting the dragon, but she is unable to find it.
She then thinks that perhaps she is scaring the dragon away by her disguises and, “the dragon would never come back.”
Finally, one night, “Sophie looked at the dragon at last, and the dragon looked at Sophie.” There is a very sweet and delightful twist at the end.
I appreciate how Sophie is courageous enough to face her fears. She finds different ways to confront the dragon, even though it takes several attempts before she sees the truth. She also stops and asks herself if she is choosing the right way to confront her fear. As sweet and silly as the story is, there is some depth to her thought process that should not be over-looked.
The illustrations are as colorful and playful as the story. The shadows are their own character, as well as the stuffed animals around the house. This is a must have bedtime story, especially for little ones who mention fears at night.
(Pictures are copyrighted illustrations from the book.)