Goodnight, Dragons, written by Judith L. Roth and illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre, is a story with a wonderful lesson embedded in it that all children should learn at some point. It is sweet, engaging, and full of writing that is both simplistic but detailed, accompanied by gentle illustrations.
What’s It About?
The story starts off with a little boy explaining that he knows that it is his mission to ‘tame’ the dragons that live in the forest. He reasons that because the dragons can be so cranky they need to be shown love, maybe more so than anybody else. In his vivid imagination we follow him as he marches bravely forth to reach his goal, accompanied by his faithful horse (which is really his little dog.)
Who’s In It?
The main characters are a young boy, his dog, and a cast of dragons. The only character who actually narrates however, is the boy. He has a wonderfully intuitive sense of kindness, understanding that even though the dragons act mean, what they really need is for someone to be nice to them. He is a thoroughly lovely brave little boy that defiantly deserves to be in the spotlight of the story.
What Are The Illustrations Like?
Pascal Lemaitre has illustrated a fair number of books including the best-selling series Who’s Got Game? And his work has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, and Time. His illustrations in Goodnight, Dragons are sweet. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about them, but the story and writing itself really enhanced the drawings. I enjoyed the manner in which the dragons were drawn immensely. There are quite a few neat ‘angles’ in the book as well, like looking down on a scene from a birds eye point of view.
What Is The Writing Like In Goodnight, Dragons?
Judith L. Roth has an interesting style of writing. At first it seems to be the average writing for a children’s book, but you quickly pick up that it is much more than that. Her sentences are simple but laced with wonderfully descriptive words which give the feeling that one is going on an epic journey such as “With a voice as strong as hawksong, I call them to me/Come, you heartbreakers. Come, you brokenhearted.”
It is written in first person, a perfect choice. It will be fun to read to children, and children in turn with take great pleasure in hearing it or reading it themselves. It gives a bit of connection to the main character that pulls you that much more into the story.
What Can Children Take Away From Goodnight, Dragons?
There are plenty of children’s books out there with plenty of lessons in them, but this book has a particularly beautiful message. It speaks to the reader of kindness, but not just any kindness, perhaps the most difficult kind to show. When someone is being mean or a bully, a child’s first reaction is probably not going to be a desire to be nice to that person. But, as demonstrated by the wonderful little hero in Goodnight, Dragons, the best way to deal with a bully is to set an example of kindness, and treat them the way that you would want to be treated. It exemplifies that sometimes the reason why someone is being hurtful is really just because they are hurting themselves. It is a wonderful lesson for young readers to take away with them and carry out into the world and, hopefully, act on.