Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el

My oldest daughter is almost seven years old, and she is in the first grade. She has a sweet little best friend, and I have struck up a friendship with the girl’s mother. We have a lot in common: our oldest daughters are only a month apart and were born in the same hospital and delivered by the same doctor. Her son and my twins are also the same age, and will start kindergarten together in a few months.

My friend and I both love the Scholastic book club flier that our girls get each month, and she was the one who told me about Not Your Typical Dragon, and how her children just loved it. I hadn’t ordered it when it appeared in the flier, so when I saw it amongst the picture books at the Book Fair, I definitely did a little happy dance.

Not Your Typical Dragon is a picture book written by Dan Bar-el and illustrated by Tim Bowers. This is the story of Crispin, a dragon who is about to turn seven years old. In dragon culture, this is the age at which dragons are endowed with the ability to breathe fire. Disaster strikes when Crispin is poised to light the candles on his cake with fire breath: whipped cream comes out of Crispin’s mouth instead of fire!

Crispin’s father is horrified by this, and takes his son to the doctor. Medicine does not help Crispin, and after some more embarrassing experiences, Crispin runs away from home. He feels sad, inadequate, and that he can’t measure up to his father’s expectations. Crispin meets a young knight, who is facing the same predicament. Sir George is also failing to meets his father’s standards, and he works with Crispin to help the dragon breath fire. But when Crispin’s father meets up with Sir George’s father, what will happen? Dragons and knights are, after all, natural enemies.

This is such a sweet and earnest book. Crispin does not breathe fire, but the things that he does conjure are all very useful to the people around him. At first, his father has a very negative attitude, and wants his son “fixed”, lest the others find out that his son is different. After Crispin’s unusual ability saves the day, his father is proud that he is a special boy.

The illustrations are very silly. There is a lot of comic relief in this book, and the illustrations really help present the absurdity of the situation. Whipped cream and marshmallows are very silly things to have coming out of a dragon’s mouth!

I would absolutely recommend Not Your Typical Dragon. This is a story of acceptance, and Crispin comes to terms with his atypical abilities, and more importantly, that Crispin’s father learns to accept his unique son. Not Your Typical Dragon will appeal to preschoolers and children in the early years of elementary school. I’m so happy to have received the recommendation for this book; this was definitely a hit in our house!

If you’d like to find out more about Not Your Typical Dragon, you can find it here:

Not Your Typical Dragon

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