Small dragon…big trouble! Tom Nicoll’s children’s novel, illustrated by Sarah Home and featuring 8 year old Eric Crisp and his unexpected new pet, is delightful – and hilarious.
â€œIâ€™m a Mini-Dragon. Basically it goes: Large Dragon, Regular Dragon, Small Dragon, Komodo Dragon, Little Dragon, Tiny Dragon, Snap Dragon, Mini-Dragon..’ says Pan,Â the tiny dragon Eric finds Â nestled among the beansprouts in his Friday night takeaway. And Mini-Dragons might be the littlest of the dragons…but they are also the best.
They are also – inadvertently – destructive for something the size of a spring roll; after all, it’s not Pan’s fault that he can’t fly yet, or that his fledgeling fire-breathing is so erratic. Â But Pan’s antics areÂ a huge problem for a little boy trying to be goodÂ to ensure he gets a very special birthday present.
The result is a very funny, very clever story that will appeal to children, and many adults, of all ages. It’s marketed for children aged 6+ but my five year old absolutely loved it – and Sarah Homes’ superb black and white illustrations certainly helped there, paving the way between picture books and the often seeminglyÂ dense text of readingÂ books. Equally, it was a great book to read aloud – I was genuinely engaged by the story and the characters and wanted to see what happened next.
Tom Nicoll, a software enginee in his non-dragon world, lives in Wallyford with his wife and daughter. It was reading to his little girl, he says, that led him to rediscovering the stories that had made him laugh as a child – and led to him writing his own. Tom explains:
‘Iâ€™ve always been drawn to stories about unusual friendships and a miniature dragon who can talk and light his own trumps is, by anyoneâ€™s definition, an unusual friend to have.Â I always enjoyed the â€˜Little Vampireâ€™ books growing up, for example, where you had a normal kid constantly struggling to keep a friendship going with someone from a completely different world.Â Iâ€™ve tried to capture that aspect in this series, except with considerably more dragon-based flatulence.’
Tom’s follow-up books, There’s a Dragon In My Backpack! and There’s a Dragon In My Toilet! (my son can’t wait for that one) are due to be publishedÂ later in the year.
There’s a Dragon In My Dinner is published by Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Press.