Ellie’s dragon by Bob Graham

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You might have seen the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards announced recently. Congratulations to the winners, but there are also some wonderful titles not to be missed on the shortlist.

Shortlisted in this year’s CBCA Book of the Year for picture book of the year, Ellie’s dragon is a beautiful story of companionship and growing up.

Your children will enjoy this fun story about Ellie and her special pet, a tiny fire-breathing dragon she keeps in her bedroom feeding him on nasturtiums, chillies and burnt toast.   

Bob Graham

A popular favourite for years, author and illustrator Bob Graham has won numerous awards for his picture books. His work is described as “gentle yet piercingly observant, humorous yet tender, delicate yet profound, poignant yet uplifting, realistic yet hopeful”.  (Ellie's Dragon cited in PaperBark Words blog)

His distinctive gentle humour and soft, whimsical drawings illuminate this bittersweet portrait of growing up. 

Celebrate and unpack descriptive language:

You can help boost your child’s vocabulary and understanding by exploring the wonderful descriptive passages in the story with examples such as:

  • Pale and luminous with shifting rainbow colours like oil on water 
  • Eyes black as charcoal 
  • Tiny wings that shimmered 

Talking with your child

Ellie’s Dad comes for outings on the weekend but her pet dragon is her constant companion. You can use this book to talk with your child about their feelings or for when it’s time for them to give up a childhood toy or habit like sucking their thumb or read the story of a girl and her dragon just for fun.

At home activities

Encourage your child to build on the experience by:

  • Drawing or making their own pet dragon or other ‘pet’
  • Using dress-up items including hats and material to become their own fantasy animal or creature
  • Express their imagination in their own special way.

Local public library access

Ask your local public library for this title or any nominated or shortlisted titles in the CBCA Book of the Year.  Not a library member?  Ask about free membership for all your family and about activities you can join this Children’s Book Week.


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