It’s this time of year that I most miss working with little children, especially  seeing the excitement in their eyes as they look forward to the holidays. By now we would be up to our elbows in all the holiday projects: decorating a home and classroom tree, present making, and holiday songs and stories. The holiday outings, well I still do those with my grown-up children. We look forward again this year to the 25 foot Gingerbread House in the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco. Last weekend we went to a Harry Potter tea at the Muir Tea House in Sebastopol, and even drank butter beer!
All this wild activity can also be overwhelming for everyone, so what better than to get cozy on the sofa and relax with hot cocoa and a favorite book or three. This year, I’m highly recommending my writer friend Elizabeth Varadan’s new picture book, Dragonella. It’s one of those books the children will want to read and have read to them over and over. I love the idea of a pickle cake. Hmm, wondering if one could make a human version of it just like the cauldron cake we ate at the Harry Potter tea! I’ll have to ask my little friends what human ingredients they would want in their pickle cake next time I’m with them for tea.


How can a little dragon girl’s flames be tamed? Dragonella gets in trouble her first day in her new school because her dragon flames flare just as she is trying to make a new friend. Her classmates are frightened; and worse, they tease her. Mrs. Trollaga and her parents try to help, but every time she learns new dragon manners, her flames come out in another way. What will she do on Legend Day when Mrs. Trollaga is going to make the children’s favorite pickle cake? Will Dragonella be able to tame her flames on that special day?

Dragonella is a charming book written by Elizabeth Varadan. The illustrations and book design are by Brian Belanger whose depictions and colors artfully depict little dragons, trolls, ogres, and griffins. What a super gift this will make for the holidays and special birthdays, especially for a child’s classroom Kindergarten through third grade teacher. Elementary aged children and classrooms can use the book as inspiration for creative writing and art projects where they can write and illustrate their own books about fanciful creatures and how to deal with teasing and bullying. Or, they could make sock or paper-puppets-on-sticks of the characters in order to act out the story.

Author: Elizabeth Varadan
Illustrator: Brian Belanger
Belanger Books, October 2017
ISBN: 978-1978037823




This Time of Year… | 2017 | Uncategorized