Jerdine Nolen
Raising Dragons
Elise Primavera, illustrator
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998
book covers
books in alphabetical order
  Raising Dragons


It just goes to show you how an innocent Sunday-before-supper walk can lead to just about anything. Who could have known that it would lead to a pulsing egg, a baby dragon, and the best friend a girl could ever wish for.

Raised with love and care day by day, the dragon grows big, bigger, and still bigger until ...

Jerdine Nolen has created a raucous adventure about forever love, loyalty, and the joys of the unexpected. And Elise Primavera's whimsical pastels render a world where dream and reality meet with heart and wild imagination. There's every chance that after reading Raising Dragons, you'll want to go searching for a dragon's egg of your very own! You never know.


"In this enchanting blend of the real and unreal, a spunky girl welcomes a tiny dragon into her family's home," (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

“A pig-tailed, snub-nosed, African-American girl tells how an egg she finds on a ‘Sunday-before-supper walk’ helps her discover her true calling—raising dragons. Out of the egg comes a hatchling that she names Hank, and until crowds and undue attention force him to leave, he and the girl share everything from bedtime stories to nighttime flights under the stars. Although the narrator boohoos a heap when forced to say good-bye to Hank, she leaves him in his tropical homeland with the hope of seeing him again—and with a wheelbarrow full of dragon eggs to care for. The warm, colloquial narrative has patterns and pacing reminiscent of the oral tradition. Clever supporting details are provided by the acrylic and pastel illustrations, beginning with the Old World-style map that depicts Dragon Island and Oceanus Dragonicus. The changing expressions on the creature's face, the dragon-shaped cloud after Hank has left, and the airline serving Dragon Island (Air Dragon, of course) are all illustrative details that enrich the text. That the girl brings new dragon eggs home to the exact location Hank was forced to vacate because of attracting so many crowds may puzzle some very astute listeners, but most will be absorbed by a joyous tale of friendship and adventure.” (Faith Brautigan, Gail Borden Public Library, Elgin, IL, School Library Journal)

“This magical tale of friendship will send youngsters scurrying to find (or invent) a dragon of their own.” (Los Angeles Times)

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