The Boy Who Grew Dragons
Illustrations by Sara Ogilvie
Publishing year: 2018
Genre: Children’s (middle grade), fantasy
Note: I’ve read the Dutch version of this book, ‘De jongen die draken kweekte’, which is translated by Jesse Goossens. The Dutch translation is published by Leminscaat, who kindly provided me with a copy through my work.
Tomas often helps his grandfather in tending his yard. When he finds a strange tree in the yard, he gets quite the surprise when he takes the equally strange fruit home. A dragon hatches from it, which is of course the coolest pet ever! However, Tomas discovers that raising a dragon is definitely not easy — especially when you don’t want your parents to find out!
Getting and raising your own dragon is a childhood dream (one I, unfortunately, haven’t yet been able to accomplish), so I was really excited to read this when a coworker/friend pushed an ARC into my hands at work. This book is mainly about all the antics Tomas’s scaly friend Fikkie (Flicker in the original version) is up to and how Tomas deals with the ensuing chaos while learning about dragons on the fly. Fikkie is a pretty curious creature who breathes sparks and drops flammable poop, so the situations Tomas finds himself in are humorous and adorable.
What I especially liked is, despite the relatable everyday setting, the sense of wonder you get when you discover more about Fikkie and his kin along with Tomas, and the way you see Tomas’s relationship with his dragon develop. There is also a lot of depth in the relationships between him and his family — especially his grandfather and his little sister. This resulted in a very heartwarming story with a positive portrayal of dragons and family relations, which only added to the book’s charm.
Finally, this book has adorable illustrations by Sara Ogilvie. They’re in black and white and might be simple, but they’re expressive and underline the whimsical feeling you get from the book.
This is apparently the first installment in a series, and I honestly can’t wait to read the second one (I liked what I believe is the sequel hook!). In the mean time, I can’t help but wonder where I can get my hands on one of those dragon fruits!