Tuesday, 30 June 2009
Here be dragons
I've just spent a wonderful weekend wallowing in book related nostalgia. On Friday the postman delivered a packet containing four books by Rosemary Manning all about the adventures of one R. Dragon.
I can't remember exactly how old I was when I first read Dragon in the Harbour but I do know that it was one of the first books I chose to read because of the location.
R Dragon sails into Weymouth Harbour and amongst other things has an encounter with the boat train that connects with the ferries sailing to the Channel Islands. As a family in the 1980s we had taken this train, one that runs right through the centre of Weymouth town on the road, and boarded an incredibly rocky ferry on our way to Guernsey. Thus when I read Dragon in the Harbour it was the first time I'd really been able to really visualise a book accurately - I'd been to the place where the story happens!
I duly read the remaining three books, probably from the library (I do now think that I owned A Dragon's Quest as the cover was so familiar when I unwrapped it last week) and I know that I enjoyed them all at the time.
I am pleased to say that I loved the four books just as much on rereading them, they still have that sense of wonder and magic that I enjoyed so much more than twenty years ago. The writing is fresh and funny, both to children and to adults, and all are filled with witty line drawings that just add to the story in a brilliant way.
The only slight disappointment I have is that I still don't know what the 'R' stands for!
The four books in the series are Green Smoke, Dragon in Danger, Dragon's Quest and Dragon in the Harbour. Jane Nissen Books have just reissued Green Smoke but the sadly the other three are only available secondhand.