This charming story is aimed at older children who are competent readers and writers. It is controversial as it deals with issues of spelling. There is a school of thought now that says spelling is not so important, as every computer has spell check. Other people believe that spelling is important as it leads to a more comprehensive understanding of literature and also helps with pronunciation of words. One thing is for sure, teachers don’t use a red pencil in children’s writing, these days; most encourage students to edit their own work.
The boy in the book has so many stories in his head that they keep him awake at night. He has such a delightful imagination that he wants to put his ideas down on paper. He does that a lot at home, but not so much at school anymore. In bed at night he is surrounded by pages and pages of paper as he records the antics of dragons and unicorns before he falls asleep. At school though he can’t find his dragon because of all the spelling rules and the teacher corrects his work, which seems to alter the meaning.
The arrival at school of a new teacher heralds a complete change for the boy. The new teacher stimulates imagination and allows free writing to express ideas. He also expects the children to correct and edit their work once it has been completed. For this young student it is a dream come true and the stories patiently waiting at the end of his pencil may now emerge. Spontaneous writing coming from a busy imagination is a wonderful thing.
The illustrations in this story are wonderful and add meaning to the text. They are colourful and humorous and show a great deal of emotion. In the text, the incorrectly spelt words are in a different font. This is a great idea for the young reader who can quickly identify incorrect spelling. An interesting topic has been raised and deserves discussion.
|Author||Paul Russell Illustrations: Aska|
|Publisher||Exisle Kids Publishing - NZ|
|Distributor||EK Books/Exile Publishing|