Book Review: The Night Dragon, by Naomi Howarth

A beguiling picture book with beautiful illustrations about Maud, an unconfident member of a clan of dragons who, by their magic, help the world transition from day into night.

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A beguiling picture book with beautiful illustrations and a story that will touch the hearts of young and old alike. I was drawn to this book solely because of the cover. The colourful dragon, little white mouse and sparkling stars said “please read me” and I am sure it will say the same to any small person looking at it. They will be unable to resist.

I loved the subdued illustrations with colour being added by the main character, Maud, an unconfident member of a clan of dragons who, by their magic, help the world transition from day into night. The names of the creatures, Delbert, Gor, Brimlod and Nelda, are also appealing to the young as they are names that suit such creatures. Their gruff natures are also what one would expect of dragons. There is a point where the feelings of others and the hurtfulness of words becomes evident and would be a great starting point to speak about bullying with young children.

Maud, through her misapprehension, is flightless until after a birthday party that she was not invited to. She sees all the other dragons oversleep and the coming of night paused, leaving the sky light and Maud in a predicament. This is when her friend, the mouse, shows its faith in her and encourages her to fly. With Mouse calling into her ear, Maud takes a tentative step off of the mountain and begins to soar. With her confidence building, she blows out huge blooms of fire and smoke and, to her surprise, the smoke is not grey, as is the rest of the clan’s, but every colour of the rainbow, reflecting her own beauty.

This is a story of friendship, trust and self-esteem. It has many talking points if used in an educational setting, and would be a great inspiration for budding artists or a superb bedtime story. A must-have for every child’s bookshelf and a beautiful gift for a new baby.

Reviewed by Leanne Caune

Rating out of 10:  10

Distributed by: Murdoch Books
Released: August 2018
RRP: $22.99 hardcover

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