Dragon Post

Dragon Post
Emma Yarlett
Walker Books

When narrator, Alex discovers a dragon in the basement of his house he quickly realises that he needs help: after all, the thing might set fire to his home. So, he writes to the fire brigade.

Thus begins a sequence of written communications in which the lad seeks expert advice from various other parties with regard to the creature’s feeding and general care.

We have to surmise what the boy writes; but the responses to his missives are presented in the form of small letters, notes and cards, each of which fits neatly into an envelope-shaped pocket.

Alex and his dragon have some amazing times together but eventually the lad realises that dragons do not make ideal pets. So he writes to his best friend Hillary (“the wisest person I knew.”)

Following her advice, Alex reluctantly bids his dragon a fond farewell after one more special day together.
That isn’t quite the end of the dragon though: the boy eventually receives a very special card in the mail …

Author/illustrator, Emma wrote this lovely book based on a story told to her by her husband who had an imaginary friend.

As a child, influenced by my avid reading of pony books I was horse mad; so much so that I would often find myself talking to my own imaginary horse – a beautiful chestnut colour it was and I named him Sorrel.
Sorrel would get me out of tricky situations and would come to me whenever I called his name. I’d sometimes find myself blaming the poor animal for leading me astray, venturing to places I’d been forbidden by my mother such as the overgrown part of my local park.
I also had a fairly large collection of horse statues from various parts of the world.
On a very recent trip to Udaipur, India I was saddened to learn of the likely demise in the city, of the centuries old craft of making wooden rocking horses so I decided to share it with my erstwhile imaginary horse friend.

My Dear Friend Sorrel,
I expect you are very surprised to hear from me after so many years. I hope you still remember me. I’m no longer that mischievous, bookish child you knew; I’m all grown up now, have become a teacher. I visit India at least once a year, mainly to see friends, and it’s something I discovered when I was away in Udaipur just recently that upset me and I want to tell you about it.
For many, many years Udaipur has been a big centre for making wooden toys.
The brightly coloured rocking horses were big sellers.
Now though there are just two men making them and they only plan to carry on for another couple of years. They say, nobody, or rather very few people, want to buy their horses now. Instead people prefer to buy their children plastic toys made in China or let them play on screens a lot of the time.
Here are 2 photos of the two craftsmen in their workshop.

And another of their beautiful horses.

A few years ago my artist friend Shahid Parvez specially ordered 500 plain horses from the two men, These were painted by school children from all over the city and exhibited in the grounds of Udaipur City Palace. Shahid hoped to make parents stop and think and perhaps encourage them to provide toys like this instead of letting them play all the time on tablets and mobiles. For a short while the sales of the horses rose dramatically but now again, nobody seems interested.
I can’t believe that this is nearly the end of such lovely toys and wonder if you have any ideas of ways to help; after all you are a horse and a very clever one.
I’m going back again in a few months so please put on that special thinking hat of yours.
Hope to hear from you soon.

Fond wishes, Jill xxx

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