The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon
Richard Adams and Alex T. Smith
Hodder Children’s Books
Here’s the result of an inspired bit of decision making from someone at Hodder: the teaming of Richard Adams (now no longer with us) and wonderful illustrator of the Claude series, Alex T.Smith. It’s the first and only picture book from Watership Down author and the last ever book Adams wrote.
Like a good many other children, Emma loved to make things out of egg boxes, not the awful plastic things but the pukka cardboard ones. One day she fashions a fantastic dragon from those egg boxes with the addition of bits of card, scraps cut from bin liners, wire, shiny bike reflectors and paint.
This amazing construction is hugely admired when Emma brings it home and one person not usually given to speaking out declares the “critter’s got magic.”
Doing as she’s bid, Emma puts the dragon to sleep under the moon and waits.
Sure enough the old man is right, the dragon comes to life and yes, he’s a fiery thing but this mischievous beastie has an amazing talent: he’s able to locate the whereabouts of almost anything that’s been lost – Dad’s specs for instance and the neighbour’s tortoise.
Pretty soon the whole neighbourhood has heard of this extraordinary gift and the TV news gets hold of the story.
Then comes a surprise call:
her majesty enlists his help and the Egg Box Dragon finds himself going to the palace to assist her in finding a missing diamond from her crown.
A thoroughly enjoyable tale, full of splendid characters in its own right, but with amazing artistry from Alex that’s simply brimming over with wonderfully imagined details, the whole thing moves to a whole new level of deliciousness.