[Written: March 2010]
Rumblewick and the Dinner Dragons is a book designed for young children to devour from beginning to end. There is not a ‘boring’ page in the book – even the copyrights appear as steam coming out of a cauldron. This is a definite plus, my three year old always thinks I’m cheating her out of something when I flick through the first pages of most books to get to the story!
This story is narrated by Rumblewick, a witch’s cat to a very “unwilling” witch. In this book Haggy Aggy (Rumblewick’s witch) wants to love and protect “terri-frying” dragons, which involves inviting a few of them over for dinner. Poor Rumblewick relates the proceedings via letters to his best friend and fellow witch’s cat, Grimey. The dragons are beautifully realised, colourful creatures with wide faces, skinny arms, big tums and very sharp teeth. Haggy Aggy is atypically dressed in flowery pink, oblivious to any danger, and it’s up to quick-thinking Rumblewick to save the day with a very ingenious “feast”.
This is a book designed to be experienced – with cut outs, chomped corners and lift-the-flap style spells and mini books within the book. There are double-page fantastically detailed pictures, along with doodles dotted round scrapbook-style layouts. This is a book to be read again and again, and to discover something different every time: the frog trying on lipstick, receipt from “Crafty Co-Op”, bat-shaped door handle… The frogs are definitely ones to look out for, and they appear on most of the pages.
Rumblewick and the Dinner Dragons is probably better for children slightly older than three (I think it’s aimed at 5+) but even so my three year old (who loves stories with witches and dragons best) still enjoyed the story, looking out for the frogs and lifting the flaps. I’m loathe to compare series but I’d say fans of Winnie the Witch should really enjoy Rumblewick, as would those who enjoy Emily Gravett’s interactive books. Personally, I think 30-something mothers should also be allowed to like picture books, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing this one with my daughters.