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Amy Mazzariello

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When a Dragon Moves In

When a Dragon Moves In
Jodi Moore
Flashlight Press
Publish date: 2011-05-01
Hardcover picture book
Review date: 7/11/2011


When a Dragon Moves In is a clever story that follows a boy and his pet dragon at play on the beach.  The illustrations are done in bold, shining colors that have a 3-d like quality, allowing the characters to jump off the page.   Children will be kept interested by all the familiar details found throughout this fun and engaging story.


 The boy has everything he needs to make the perfect sandcastle: a shovel, a pail, and a great imagination.  When the boy discovers he has in fact constructed the best sandcastle ever, he also notices that his castle has captured the attention of a big red dragon, which happens to fit perfectly inside.  Once the dragon moves in, the real fun begins.  But no one in the boy’s family believes him when he tries to tell them about the cool way the dragon roasts marshmallows for him with his fiery breath, or how the dragon scares away bullies with his menacing girth, or how the dragon himself makes a perfect raft for floating.  Just when things couldn’t get any better, the dragon loses control and starts to make mischief by blowing bubbles in his lemonade, leaving fingerprints in the brownies, and flinging sand at the boy’s sister.  Shouldering the blame for the dragon’s antics, the boy begins to second guess the fun of having a dragon living in his perfect sandcastle.  And, sadly, the boy asks the dragon to leave, vowing to never again make a perfect sandcastle – until the next day, when he makes an even better one.


 When a Dragon Moves In is Jodi Moore’s first picture book and I’m sure it will not be her last.  She seems to have a keen awareness of the essence of a child’s imagination and showcases it well with this book.  Paired with the fun illustrations done by Howard McWilliam, author of I Need My Monster, this picture book has all the makings of a classic that can be shared with children over and over again.   It would make a great read to help pass the time while in the car on the way to the beach!