Drake’s father tells him that he is a big boy now and that its time to go to the village and burn a few houses. Drake has only ever toasted himself a small slug or caterpillar for a snack, and really doesn’t want to burn down houses, but he sets off obediently. At the first house, before he can burn it down, a small boy greets him with delight and suggests that the school would be a good idea instead, because he hasn’t done his homework, but a teacher soon puts a stop to that idea. She explains that the children love learning about dragons and gets them to draw pictures to give to him, then suggests that he set fire to an abandoned shack down by the river. The shack turns out to belong to a fisherman, so he can’t burn that down, either, and eventually they share a meal of delicious freshly caught roasted trout. Drake then returns home to his father, who is anxious that humans will no longer fear dragons, but Drake, who has learnt a thing or two, shows him the pictures and says that the humans admire him in particular, and all is well.
The illustrations are terrific – father looks really grumpy and fierce, but there is a lot of humour in the double-page spreads and especially in the portrayal of the human characters, some of whom are evidently frightened of dragons. There are details to spot, like the long bone used as a curtain rail in the dragons’ scary-looking cave. The text was written in English although the author is French, (he is a teacher and editor) and flows well, with some possibilities of drama in the telling e.g. ‘Just as he was taking a deep, deep breath to set the fragile building alight….’ and of course the idea that parents are not always right may lead to some interesting discussions. This will be fun to read and share.