Breakfast on a Dragon’s Tail and other Book Bites (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), written and illustrated by Martin Springett, is a smorgasbord of potential imaginings. Comprised of 13 imaginary book covers and the first page of each story, Breakfast on a Dragon’s Tail allows the reader to complete the story (kind of like the Choose Your Own Adventure series but in picture book format). After a short introduction into each story, there are some questions meant to make the reader consider how the story continues, who are the characters, etc.
This is a beautifully illustrated book. Every cover page is eye-catching, vibrant and immensely detailed. The illustrations help establish the stories by giving some context and details that the story introductions lack. Given how brief the introductions are, the illustrations really help the stories take flight.
I wasn’t particularly struck by the writing. Some of the introductions felt a bit contrived and without focus, as though there were a few different story lines jammed into one. I read each story aloud and found it difficult sometimes to keep a good rhythm going. Picture books are meant to be read aloud and most of these introductions just didn’t deliver in this regard. However, a few of the stories, like “The Gloomy Spong and the Sparkly Girl” and “The Dithering Ducks of Deptford,” were quite entertaining with snappy dialogue and humourous characters. These stories stuck out for me and left me wanting to know more.
I wouldn’t choose this story for a bedtime or storytime read. If that’s the kind of book you’re looking for, I’d take a pass on this one. It’s not something you can sit down and read through cover to cover. It is the kind of book where you read one page at a time, think about, imagine its possibilities and then come back to another day.
And that is where this book excels: its possibilities. Breakfast on a Dragon’s Tail is an excellent book for creative writing and activity time. I can especially see it being used in classrooms to spark children’s imaginations and build discussion. The introductions would even work as writing prompts for aspiring children’s book writers to get the proverbial juices flowing.
I think anything that sets the imagination running is a good thing and for that reason (and the wonderful illustrations, of course!) this book gets my recommendation. Elementary school teachers should definitely add this to their classroom. After all, its possibilities are endless.