Rosemary Manning – Green Smoke: a trip down memory lane

Book cover: Green SmokeOkay, I admit it – there’s some long-term fuzzies for me in this reread, which may be skewing my star rating. You know what? I don’t care.

Young Sue stumbles across Mr R Dragon on her first day of a 2-week visit to Constantine Bay, and the two quickly forge a friendship based on a shared love of iced buns, stories, and genteel politeness (they meet when Sue buries a paper bag that the dragon has accidentally sneezed out of his cave).

This is a brief chapter book, with most chapters containing a story within a story – there’s an argument that much of Green Smoke is simply an excuse to retell Cornish myths, and it was probably one of my earliest points of entry to Arthurian legends.

Objectively, Mr R Dragon is in fact a fairly self-absorbed, grumpy old man – he doesn’t like it when he isn’t the centre of attention, he dislikes interruptions and being contradicted, and he gets very snappy when he doesn’t get fed his own way.

In spite of this, there’s an irresistible charm about their relationship – and when Sue calls him on one unreasonable grump, he cheers up as quickly as he clouded over. Sue herself is delightful, as is her relationship with her mother.

Needless to say, I devoured the whole thing and intend to read the sequels again in due course. Absolute joy.