Australian RRP: $27.99
Bob Graham, one of our best-loved Australian book characters, once again brings his own brand of magic to this bittersweet story of childhoodand imaginary friends and the inevitable growing-up, or out of, both.
Ellie finds the sweetest little dragon in a box of eggs from the supermarket and immediately sets about making him feel at home – giving him free run of her dolls house (though cleverly also teaching him to use the dragon litter tray she provides!). Although Ellie’s friends can all see Scratch quite clearly, her mother and teachers definitely don’t. As Ellie grows so does Scratch until the tiny dragon becomes huge, all the time remaining the sweetest-natured domesticated pet ever.
But as is the way, Ellie becomes a teenager and as she does, Scratch fades and finally vanishes – although she sometimes thinks she catches just a glimpse of him. Just as the reader feels terribly sad about Scratch’s disappearance, he re-appears just in time to be adopted by a little boy who is equally as imaginative and caring as the little Ellie who was.
The poignancy will affect many an adult reader, especially those of us who often ‘miss’ our little people now they are grown but children will relish the friendships that bring so much joy to the characters. Personally I would love to use this as a read-aloud and explore the possibilities of the imaginary friends children will choose for themselves.
As always Graham’s beautiful illustrations with their predominance of pastel shades enhance the gentle text sublimely. I particularly love the depiction of Ellie and her dad at the movies – watching Max and his family on the screen!
If you haven’t yet added this one to your collection, I urge you to do so without delay.