Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari

The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari

The Dragon and the Turtle Go On Safari is a new book from Donita K. Paul and Evangeline Denmark and illustrated by Vincent Nguyen. The story tells about the adventures of Padraig, the Dragon and Roger, the Turtle, as they go on Safari at the base of Mount Sillymanborrow. As we read, we learn that they are actually spending the night in their own backyard, but are imagining that they are on Safari. As they enjoy their campfire snacks, they hear noises from animals. We see in the first illustration, an ordinary animal like an owl, a squirrel, a raccoon and a kitten, but, as we learn that they imagine the noises to be from howler monkeys, giraffe, elephants and leopards, an illustration of a blended animal that is part ordinary animal and part what they imagined it to be. The story shows how together, these two friends face their worries and fears and manage to successfully spend the night in the backyard.

It is a cute story and my kids enjoyed it. I'm not sure that the first time they read it that they realized that the two pals were spending the night in their backyard, versus actually on a safari.

The main story was followed by "The Story Roger Did Not Get to Tell, The Legend of Mount Sillymanborrow", which is a quirky tale about a man that was making breakfast and finding himself without ingredients, makes several round about trips to his neighbor's house to borrow ingredients. When his neighbor joins him for breakfast, we learn that his house is much closer than the trips the man took would have suggested the house was.

On the final page of the book, is a quote from Deuteronomy and then some dialogue to share with your child. Discussions about being courageous and showing concern for others and about how friends can encourage one another.

Overall, I thought is was a nice story with wonderful illustrations. The Dragon and the Turtle are endearing characters and their adventure, along with the dialogue starters, are a great way to share with your children about the powers of friendship and how friends are there for one another.

I must say though, that there were some things that seemed odd in a book targeted to young children. First, there were portions of the dialogue in the story that seemed strange to me, such as when they were talking about seeing the giraffes and all the other animals in the morning and Padraig said "Cheerio. Right jolly good spot for us" and when Roger replied "A capital idea" when Padraig suggested that they get into their tent for safety. My first thought was that this language seemed slightly out of place in a book meant for preschoolers and young school aged children. My second thought was that the author must be British - turns out that Donita K. Paul was born in Kansas and lives in Colorado and that Evangeline Denmark is her daughter. I also struggled with the Dragon's name. I wasn't sure how to properly pronounce Padraig. I said it as a "Pa - Draag". (Even when I am reading a book to myself, I like to know how to say a name. As example, when I first read the House of Seven Gables in high school, I was uncertain how to pronounce Phoebe (of course, that was before Friends!) and read it as "Phobe". It wasn't until I read it in college that I learned that it was "FeeBe".)

Some details:
Published by: Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Price: $11.99
You can purchase a copy of the The Dragon and Turtle Go On Safari at RandomHouse.com
You can find Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group on Facebook. Donita K. Paul has a website as well.
There is another book by the same authors and featuring the same characters, The Dragon and the Turtle.

No compensation was received for this post. I was provided with a copy of the book courtesy of RandomHouse, through MamaBzz, to share with my children and to share a review on my blog. All opinions expressed are my own.