Dragons are ‘tough and ferocious and powerful’ aren’t they? Well, not all of them. In this charming picture book, we meet Maurice, who is anything but. He loves flowers and is ‘small, gentle and quiet’. Reminiscent of Ferdinand the Bull in a picture book of old, he wants always to be around colour and beauty and is usually found arranging flowers into wonderful patterns. His friends – and particularly his brother, Gruff – love having contests to see who is strongest of them all. Gruff often wins, and can’t understand why his young brother fails. This makes Maurice very sad as he does try, but knows he is different from the others. In a yearly competition, where the other dragons compete in fire-breathing, scaring each other, and having a gold treasure hunt, Gruff, in his over-confident way, insists that the treasure hunt should go ahead in spite of a storm, and when he doesn’t return, it is Maurice who decides that they must look for him even in the bad weather. Flying in a daisy-chain formation, Maurice leading, they swoop and search until Gruff is found with a hurt wing. Once again it is Maurice who knows exactly what to do. He finds a willow tree, and with his florist knowledge weaves a harness, so the stronger dragons can carry Gruff home. Everyone cheers the hero, and a much-chastened Gruff presents his brother with flowers and admits that Maurice’s ‘strength comes from his being true to himself’. ‘Sometimes dragons breathe flames, but sometimes they breathe flowers.’ Delightful, and beautifully illustrated.
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