There's a Dragon Downstairs

Overview

There's a

dragon downstairs

at Sophie's house.

Every night Sophie hears him...

rattling through the cat flap,

slinking to the living room,

growing and growing

in the ...

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Overview

There's a

dragon downstairs

at Sophie's house.

Every night Sophie hears him...

rattling through the cat flap,

slinking to the living room,

growing and growing

in the dark.

Mom and Dad say there's no dragon, but Sophie is determined to find him herself!

Award-winning author Hilary McKay and illustrator Amanda Harvey have created a wonderfully imaginative tale about confronting nighttime fears, a story that will delight young children everywhere.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The creators of Was That Christmas? present an engaging bedtime tale, well suited for youngsters who are prone to hearing things go bump in the night. "There was a dragon downstairs at Sophie's house," the story opens unequivocally. From her bed, the girl hears him "Rattling through the cat flap. Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark." Kids will chime in as this vivid description of the intruder's actions repeats on subsequent nights, prompting the intrepid child to assume different disguises in which to face the interloper. She sports a homemade cardboard suit of armor to fight the dragon, next wears "her firefighter's helmet and her pump-action supersonic water squirter... because dragons breathe fire," and later dons her princess dress and crown, because "dragons like princesses. (To eat, thought Sophie, but he won't eat me!)." On each occasion, she finds no dragon downstairs-until one night she decides to confront the culprit as herself and pinpoints the source of the mysterious sounds (her cat). McKay's nimbly paced narrative playfully builds suspense, as does Harvey's watercolor-and-pencil art, which fancifully brims with shadows, many resulting from the light shining on toy dragons and dinosaurs. A charming and comforting read-aloud. Ages 2-5. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Sophie's imagination has gotten the best of her and she believes that a dragon is coming into the house at night after she goes to bed. Her mother and father reassure her, but Sophie is not convinced. With the book There's a Monster Under My Bed echoing in one's mind, this story relates how Sophie contrives various methods for slaying the dragon but to no avail. Even though she can hear the dragon come in through the cat's door, there is no dragon there when she goes downstairs. Sophie begins to feel sorry for herself and the dragon as she realizes they will probably never meet. The very next night she hears the dragon, again. This time, not pretending to be a dragon slayer, she runs down to meet the dragon in her pajamas and finds someone quite familiar. Youngsters are sure to enjoy this suspenseful tale with its lively illustrations. 2005 (orig. 2003), Simon and Schuster, Ages 4 to 7.
—Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
A fire-breathing beast roams the living room at night. Sophie lies in bed and listens to it rattles and slink. The author gives little ones a monster tale with a reassuring ending. Four times Sophie decides to confront the thing—with her parents, as a knight in homemade armor, as a firefighter with water squirter and as a bejeweled princess—but each time it disappears. Finally, she decides to go as herself, friendly Sophie, and creeps downstairs to discover ... the family cat on its nightly prowl. The illustrator's cheery watercolors keep the story from being too scary even at its most suspenseful. The message is subtle yet empowering: Confront your fears and they shrink, from dragon to pussycat.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-Every night Sophie bravely tries to confront the dragon that she hears "Rattling through the cat flap. Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark." The imaginative youngster dresses up as a knight, a firefighter, and even a princess to scare it away but by the time she gets to the first floor, it's gone. Eventually she dares to go as herself and catches it-the family cat. The artwork attempts to show how everyday objects take on a somewhat menacing, shadowy countenance after dark, but children may be confused by the toy dinosaurs that appear on practically every page. Otherwise, the watercolor-and-pencil illustrations support the story. One immediately thinks of Mercer Mayer's classics, There's a Nightmare in My Closet (1968), There's an Alligator under My Bed (1987), and There's Something in My Attic (1988, all Penguin) to soothe bedtime fears. This is an acceptable purchase for collections that need additional titles on the topic.-Linda M. Kenton, San Rafael Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
McKay and Harvey offer a resolution both comforting and logical to the perennial issue of noises in the night. Every night, Sophie hears a dragon "Rattling through the cat flap. Slinking to the living room. Growing and growing in the dark." But by the time she stumbles down, dressed in cardboard armor, carrying a "pump-action supersonic water squirter," or dressed in her princess outfit, the room is empty. Using scribbly pencil strokes to create shadows in rooms decorated with a large and scattered collection of plush dinosaurs, Harvey depicts Sophie as a small figure in which anxiety and resolution are clearly mixed; when at last the child sneaks down quietly in her pj's, she discovers that there really is a "dragon"-of the feline variety. This import's repeating structure and cozy close make it a natural for reading aloud, at bedtime or any other. (Picture book. 5-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689867743
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 3/22/2005
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 2 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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