BAYNTON, Martin (text) Terri Baynton (illus.) Dragon Island Scholastic (NZ) 2014 unpaged NZ$19.50 pbk ISBN 9781775431916 SCIS 1672311
Look out Jurassic Park because there is nothing like Dragon Island! For on this island all the dragons are ‘fierce, fiery and ferocious’ except for Norman. Rather than tearing down trees and breaking boulders, Norman likes to make things. However, there are limits to what one can make. Can you make people do what you want them to do? This is Norman’s dilemma. Is animal nature fixed or fluid? Are we simply performers or do we have agency? Indeed it is the lateral thinking of Norman (as well as a remarkable gift of prediction perhaps) that saves the day. When all the dragons undertake the annual race to Coconut Island and race back with all the coconuts they can carry, things become unstuck for each of the dragons in turn and it is Norman who becomes the rescuer. He is rewarded by all the rescued dragons with the archetypal ‘three wishes’ for his generosity and so . . . Enjoy the rest of the story and contemplate the big issues! Recommended. Teacher Notes are available on the Scholastic website.
reviewed by John McKenzie