“Everything you can imagine is real.” - Pablo Picasso
Author Barbara Brooks Wallace’s book ‘Dragon For Hire’ tells a charming tale about an 11 year old boy and his adventures with a talking dragon. Morris Doubleday Clipper is a fifth grade student living in a little town called Wister Wibbles and attends the namesake Grammar & Middle School. He lives at home with his inventor father and author mother. In a household where imagination runs wild, little Morris sadly has none of it and struggles to churn out even a half a decent story to his English teacher Miss Picklesticker. Then one day when a talking, well-mannered dragon stops by the garage in his house, Morris discovers a whole new facet to his town and its people and in the end gains the one thing that was missing from his life all along - Imagination.
Although it’s hard to imagine anyone in the age group of 9-12 ever being lonely, some children are. While some may not have made the right friend, others in spite of having many may not feel like sharing everything with them. These children should find Morris extremely relatable, his earnestness and honesty makes him stand out in the crowd. Morris is far more reasonable than children his age usually are and is also open to new ideas and even criticism. His unlikely alliance and friendship with Tom the dragon is funny, sweet and serves two purposes. Firstly, it helps Morris overcome the obstacle in his life and unearth a special treasure. Secondly, it tells the reader that keeping an open mind that is receptive to new ideas and new people can help us achieve much progress in our lives.
The entire book is an excellent play on the English language and is a linguist’s delight. This feature is something I imagine a lot of adults will find appealing in the book. The names of the people and places in this book reflect this. The book also inspires you to think independently without getting bogged down by peer pressure. It also tells you to be proud of yourself, your skills, your heritage and even your shortcomings and differences.
Morris’ reasoning and thinking is clever and is hard to argue with. He has a way about him that is smart and funny and is sure to leave a big smile on your kid’s as well as your face. Morris in the end hopes that Tom the dragon will make a quick comeback; a sentiment I’m sure a lot of readers will share as well.
Speaking of imagination, try this bit and you will have even more fun while reading the book. Whenever Tom the dragon comes on, read all his lines in your mind in the voice of Christopher Walken and you should have a ball with it.
It is an inspiring, smile inducing adventure story for immediate readers and older.
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Pangea Press (April 1, 2016)
- and other Ingram distribution partners