Friday 21 August 2015

ReaditDaddy's Second Book of the Week - Week Ending 21st August 2015 - "Jill and Dragon" by Lesley Barnes (Tate Publishing)

Our second book of the week may not be out until the 1st September but we just could not wait to share it with you. Take a plucky girl, add a dragon and join in for high adventure in "Jill and Dragon" by Lesley Barnes.
It's quite fortunate that we had a guardian angel looking out for us with this book because this was one of the books in a parcel that somehow ended up being kicked around the streets in a neighbouring town thanks to a mess-up with the mail. Thankfully the book survived with just a couple of scuffs and scrapes, very fortunate indeed because it's absolutely wonderful and almost feels like it was written just for us.

You see we love mighty girl characters - of course we do because Charlotte is a mighty girl herself, so automatically looks for books that feature girls that she can identify with and look up to.

Jill is just such a character who starts off this glorious and beautiful book by feeling a little bit outraged. She's reading fairy stories, and though the story ends with the usual cliche "...and they all lived happily ever after", one of the characters in the book definitely doesn't.

A dragon, a huge fire-breathing winged beast (and if there's one other thing we love in books, it's dragons - you probably guessed this already though!)

This poor dragon ends up begging for mercy as the king and his soldiers move in for the kill. It's up to plucky Jill to weave a little book magic and rescue the poor thing from the advancing militia before it's too late.

Jill does exactly that, and soon Jill introduces Dragon to all the things she loves to do. He doesn't seem to be any good at the trumpet, and Jill's poor dog doesn't seem that enamoured with this new 'pet' either - But everyone has something they're good at, and perhaps Dragon just needs the right moment to show off a superb culinary skill that could even win over that troublesome King!

Just look at this book...just look at how gorgeous the art is:

He's not terrible, he's misunderstood!
It's like a glorious homage to the Bayeux Tapestry, fused with glorious elements of Medieval art and even reminiscent of cool stuff like Noggin the Nog and Cloppa Castle. It's absolutely chock full of character and detail and we couldn't get enough of this art style.  It's not really surprising considering Lesley's background and expertise in animation and art.

The story makes you want to scream "Hooray!" at every turn of the page as Jill and Dragon become firm friends and swiftly discover that Dragon IS brilliant at something after all, and could have a place in the King's realm - but we'll leave you to discover just what Dragon's cool skill is by delving into this glorious book yourselves.

Please please PLEASE tell us there'll be more from Jill and Dragon!
Lesley's picture book debut is an absolute stunner to look at and to read aloud.

Charlotte's best bit: Jill's rather grumpy dog who isn't impressed with Dragon's initial clumsy attempts to 'fit in' at home with Jill.

Daddy's favourite bit: Jill is our kinda gal! A superb pair of characters that really do need to spawn their own book series. Hooray for Jill and Dragon, a superbly uplifting and utterly gorgeous book.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Tate Publishing)

Update: After a bit of a Twitter session with Lesley, we hear that there WILL be a sequel after all, and Lesley's working on it right now! SQUEEEEE!

"Jill and Dragon"

Written and Illustrated by Lesley Barnes

Published by Tate Publishing

Release Date (Hardback): 1st September 2015