Dragon in danger: middle-class dragon holidays go awry

Never fear, R Dragon is here! The sequel to the fabulous Green Smoke takes a rather different format, as R Dragon decides that if Sue can take holidays so can he – so he will come to visit her in St Aubyns. Dropping a dragon into modern (*cough* ish) society can’t be done without a few ripples, and he is soon called on to act in the town pageant and then dragon-napped by some entrepreneurs from a rival town (who find they’ve got rather more on their hands than they bargained for). Thankfully, the friendly removal men who gave him a lift from Cornwall are soon on the case to get him back to Sue and his star turn on stage…

I enjoyed just how ill-equipped the dragon is for holidays – he is even less capable of packing light than my mum (sorry mum) – and I loved the stern line Sue adopts to get his luggage down to a reasonable scale. It does, sadly, also allow for the now hopeless line (repeated twice, because Sue is so special) that Sue is so organised and thoughtful that she’ll make a wonderful… explorer’s wife. Thankfully, times have changed.

One of the things I liked best about rereading Green Smoke was the fuzziness surrounding the extent to which Sue’s mother actually believed her daughter had befriended a dragon; she was remarkably unconcerned in a way that suggested she thought he was an invisible friend with a sweet tooth. In Dragon in Danger R Dragon interacts with hordes of adults, not least the redoubtable Mrs Wotherspoon and her hat of artificial roses, but for me lacked a scene in which Sue’s mum finally realised Sue’s imagination wasn’t quite as wild as she had thought. But that’s just me.

It’s all perfectly charming, with a couple of gags for the reading parent (I was particularly fond of The Visitor from Mars Welcomes You), but rather less magical than the original book. Sue and her friends are over-shadowed by the adult cast who drive the plot, and R Dragon has fewer opportunities to shine when not engaged in storytelling (although his duets with William the removal-man are lovely, as is his handling of the villainous Mr Bogg).

Still enjoyable, but not a patch on the first one. I do love the illustrations though.