Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon by Ute Krause.
I think I almost have this one memorized. We’ve been reading this book everyday for the past nine weeks. I’m going to go ahead and call it an “instant classic.” It is certainly loved at our house.
My 26 month old son will consistently pull this book off the shelf and ask me to read it to him. He has large portions of this book memorized and I can stop most anywhere in the book and he’ll be able to finish the sentence.
This is the story about a hungry dragon. The dragon hasn’t eaten in 344 days and is ready for his fat, juicy princess. The only problem is that no princesses are available and so Oliver is chosen at random to be fed to the dragon. Oliver goes bravely to his fate, but when the dragon sees Oliver he is incredibly disappointed. Oliver is very skinny, not even fat enough to make a decent snack. Oliver is very clever and convinces the dragon to keep him around and let him fatten himself up. Oliver then spends the next while cooking gourmet meals (that the dragon does the grocery shopping for each day) and trying to coax the dragon into eating the food he has prepared. At first the dragon is stubborn and refuses to eat any of Oliver’s cooking. However, as time goes by, the dragon gets so weak and is so hungry that he finally eats some of Oliver’s cooking. The dragon finds his cooking to be incredible. One day the dragon checks to see if Oliver has fattened up yet and realizes that Oliver has been tricking him all along and that Oliver is now quite fat. Oliver rationalizes with the dragon and helps him to realize that eating him would deprive the dragon of all of the amazing food he has been eating. Oliver promises that if he doesn’t eat him then he will stay with the dragon and continue to cook for him. The dragon agrees. Oliver and the dragon then go back to Oliver’s village where he gets to see his mom and have a birthday party. The story ends with Oliver and the dragon opening up a gourmet restaurant for dragons and humans alike.
It’s a cute story (though I’ll grant that it is a bit morbid, but it is a fairy tale — fairy tales by nature are morbid), well illustrated, and really brings home the message that in the face of ultimate demise a bit of hard work and quick thinking can yield
a gourmet restaurant a new and better opportunity.
I do have to edit this book when reading it to my son. At one point in the book when Oliver offers the dragon some of the dinner he has prepared the dragon says, “SHUT UP!” I conveniently edit this to: “NOOOOOO, Thank you!”
We don’t say, “Shut up” in our house and I don’t know anyone with children or teenagers who thinks that it is okay to say, “shut up.” I’m not sure what to do because I want to buy this book, but I don’t want my son reading anything with “shut up” in it for a very. long. time. I may end up being one of those mothers who takes white out and literally rewrites this part of the story. Maybe if I ask nicely the publishers will reprint a version of this book without the, “Shut up.” Unlikely, but this is my review, I can wish for unlikely things if I would like to. 🙂
Anyway, despite the “shut up” this book is amazing and I still highly recommend it. It is fun and interesting and flat out wonderful. With a little bit of editing, it is appropriate for all ages and I think everyone in the family will enjoy it. I know everyone in my family does.
Where Obtained: Library.
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