A Dragon Tale

Click on the image to read the book online!

Happy Year of the Dragon!  I'm told that Dragon + Water = Bounty, so I'm celebrating the Chinese New Year with Jodi Moore’s award-winning When a Dragon Moves In, a whimsical sizzler about the antics of a dragon who moves into the sandcastle of one lucky little lad.  While his family goes about their beach business, the boy and his dragon share all sorts of adventuresome fun roaming around and roastin’ marshmallows, busting bullies and braving the waves. Despite his insistence of the dragon’s existence, though, this creatively clever kid cannot convince his family that his dragon is real.  Dragons are willing to take risks and driven; the boy is playful and seemingly unafraid of challenges . . . sounds like a double-bubble thinking map would fit perfectly here.

And when mischief starts to happen, the boy decides to send his dragon packing “until he learns some manners.”  That’s my favorite part because it’s the perfect segue into a character chat with my students.  What should a dragon’s manners look like, sound like, feel like at the beach?  At home  At school?  In the community?  Who will teach him those manners?  How will the boy know that the dragon has learned his new skill set?  Then will the dragon be back?  

The eye-poppingly expressive illustrations by Howard McWilliam bring the text to life in a such a magical way that I actually wanted to believe the boy!  You can also use this gem as a springboard for a discussion about real versus pretend.  Find out if your listeners think that the dragon really exists.  Why or why not?  If they ascertain that the dragon is imaginary, then ask them if the little boy is being dishonest.  What, if anything, is the difference between pretending and lying.

After reading this dragon tale aloud, warm up with your students' favorite sun and sand adventures aloud, prompting them to use as many sparkle words as they can.  Then, fire up those imaginations by encouraging them to mesh fantasy with fact as they script a summertime story of their own.

On a personal note, I am so blessed to have met this author online and become friends with her.  She's an expert bucket filler whose words can make me laugh and cry (all at once in one of her notes!) and I'm eagerly awaiting her next release! 


  1. This book sounds awesome...I can't wait to get it. Thanks for sharing.

    The Picture Book Teacher's Edition

  2. I love this book! I used it in kindergarten to intoduce manners. The kiddos loved it.

  3. Great book and a fun way to celebrate Chinese New Year! Thanks for sharing! I pinned your post to my Kids' Chinese New Year Activities Pinterest board at http://pinterest.com/debchitwood/kids-chinese-new-year-activities/

  4. This looks like a great book! I'm going to have to look for it. And thank you very much for the recent and especially sweet comment you left me.
    Take care!
    Grade ONEderful

  5. The book is awesome and Jodi is awesomer :)

    I'm lucky to be in a "in person" writing critique group with Jodi and I can assure you she's as excellent in person as she is online.



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