Last year I was thrilled to host the cover reveal for Andy Shepherd’s debut, ‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons,’ and now the time has finally come to release those dragons into the wild with the launch of this gorgeous story on Thursday. This is the first book in a gorgeous, funny new series that is bound to captivate and delight children. When Tomas finds a mysterious tree at the bottom of his grandpa’s garden with strange fruit nestled between orange and red fiery tendrils little does he know that a dragon is hiding inside just waiting to hatch. So with no expectation of any excitement Tomas pops one of these ripe fruits into his pockets and that’s when the fun begins. Because the one thing you need to know about growing dragons, is well, there are lot more naughty and a lot more difficult than say cucumbers or tomatoes, as Tomas soon finds out.
‘The Boy Who Grew Dragons,’ is a total delight from start to finish, a truly endearing debut. I’m particularly fond of stories where magic can be found in the most unexpected of places and there’s probably nowhere quite as unexpected than trapped under some overgrown weeds. Andy cleverly combines real life and fantasy as we discover that as much as Tomas is filled with excitement of owning his very own pet dragon, the realities of keeping this a secret is incredibly tricky. How can he possibly explain, scorch marks on his PE shorts, flying books and toothbrushes that spontaneously catch fire? There’s only so many times he can blame his gargantuan cat TomTom or his mischievous little sister Lolli.
Andy deftly mixes humour and heart with many heart-stopping moments when the reader feels for certain that Tomas’s secret is about to be discovered. After being looked after and wrapped up in cotton wool his whole life now Tomas has to take responsibility for someone else and he has to learn how to do it very quickly. Flicker gives Tomas the courage to be brave and bold in a way that he hasn’t had the chance to be before. There are so many comedy moments that will make you laugh out loud and cringe inside for poor Tomas. Yet this is so much more than a funny, magical story it is filled with so much warmth and love especially in the relationship that Tomas has with his Grandad. Sara Ogilvie’s sublime illustrations bring this story to life capturing perfectly the gauntlet of emotions Tomas experiences as Flicker blasts his way into his life. They sprinkle a layer of wonder and excitement over the story making this a truly joyous read. Bursting with chaos, hilarity and magic aplenty you can’t help but be enchanted by this glorious tale.
Thank you to Andy and Piccadily for sending me a copy of this delightful book, The Boy Who Grew Dragons,’ is released on the 14th June and is available to pre-order now online or from any good bookshop.