Illustrated by Monica Armino, the jade and green cover of The Moonshine Dragon with its embossed purple title instantly attracts attention. The compact size makes it easy for young children to hold and read, especially when travelling. It also has front cover flaps with a ‘spot the difference’ game to add more interest; and the black and white interior illustrations are most expressive.
The story tells of a young boy, Patrick, who is awoken at night by the sound of a tiny dragon escaping from the pages of his storybook. The dragon explains that a knight is pursuing him – and sure enough the knight on horseback, dramatically emerges from the book. When Patrick (who is enormous by comparison) speaks, the knight calls him a giant and charges at him. But as soon as Patrick touches the knight, ‘moonlight magic’ makes Patrick shrink down to the knight’s size. Suddenly, the knight attacks Patrick, who has to flee for his life.
When the dragon explains that he could fly them to safety if only he had some food, Patrick comes up with a plan! To feed the dragon, Patrick must climb up to the stale bread on the castle ramparts. Then he must fly on the dragon’s back to retrieve the remote control for his digger. Only when the digger is turned on, can Patrick save himself and the dragon.
Written by Cornelia Funke (Spiderwick Chronicles), the language is simple with the strong moral that bravery and teamwork always saves the day!