Naomi Howarth has established herself as an illustrator who brings colour to the page. In her new picture book this is especially true. Maud is a dragon, a night dragon whose sooty breath will cover the sky to bring on nightfall. However Maud does not fly or breathe fire and soot; she is despised by the others. But what will happen when those others fail to wake up in time to bring the night? Will Maud find the courage to spread her wings? Mouse is convinced she can. When she does something amazing happens.
In the past Howarth has taken a traditional tale to work with but here she is the author. The result is a charming tale to bring delight to that story at bedtime. While the theme is familiar – coping with difference, having courage to be oneself – here it is neatly packaged and beautifully presented. Maud, rather than covering the sky with dark clouds covers it in vivid colours; sunset colours. Howarth makes good use of the double page spread, creating a lovely sense of space through which the dragons can tumble and fly – an illusion that becomes all important when we see Maud flying around the world to bring night heralded by glorious reds, yellows and orange. And then the final cheeky wave of her tail as she disappears leaving those sooty dragons behind.