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Cover image for A friend for Dragon
A friend for Dragon


[New edition].
New York, NY : Acorn/Scholastic Inc., [2019]
Physical Description:
51 pages : color illustrations ; 19 cm.
General Note:
Originally published in 1991 by Orchard Books.
Dragon is lonely so he goes looking for a friend and when an apple falls on his head he is convinced that he has found one; but at home Apple is quiet and unresponsive, and when a visit to the doctor only makes things worse, Dragon mourns the loss of his friend--until an apple tree grows where Apple is buried.
Reading Level:
Grades K-2.

Grade 1.


Call Number
JER Pilkey
JER Pilkey
+ Pilkey (blue)
JER Pilkey

On Order



From Dav Pilkey, creator of the New York Times bestselling Dog Man and Captain Underpants series, comes Dragon, the heartwarming hero adored by Dav's youngest readers!

Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early reader line, Acorn, aimed at children who are learning to read. With easy-to-read text, a short-story format, plenty of humor, and full-color artwork on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and fluency. Acorn books plant a love of reading and help readers grow!

Lonely Dragon has made a friend, and he loves spending time with his new buddy! He enjoys telling scary stories, cracking funny jokes, and fixing a midnight snack for them to share. But when his friend appears to be ill, Dragon demonstrates what it means to be a true friend. In this warmhearted friendship story of love and loss, Dav Pilkey has created a lovable hero that everyone will cheer for!

Author Notes

Dav Pilkey was born on March 4th, 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio. His father was a steel salesman, and his mother was the organist at a local church.

In 1984, Pilkey attended Kent State University as an art major. One of Pilkey's freshman English professors complimented him on his creative writing skills, and encouraged him to write books, which launched him into his career. He found out about a contest for students who write and illustrate their own books, with the winners earning the prize of publication. Pilkey began creating his first book, "World War Won," and entered it in The National Written and Illustrated By...Awards Contest for Students. Pilkey won the contest and flew to Kansas City, Missouri to meet the editors and publishers at Landmark Editions, Inc.

Soon after the publication of World War Won, Dav moved back to Kent, Ohio where he had gone to college. In 1997, Pilkey won the Caldecott Honor for his book "The Paperboy" but is perhaps better known for his "Captain Underpants" series, which he had created while still in elementary school. His title Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers made Publisher's Weekly best seller list for 2011. His title's, The Adventures of Captain Underpants and Dog Man Unleashed, made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

About this witty tale of friendship, PW noted that ``Pilkey has created a positively precious prehistoric prototype'' and praised the ``excellent vocabulary choices and crafty characterizations.'' Ages 6-8. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

Each of these books contains five chapters about a blue dragon, illustrated with brightly colored, cartoonlike watercolors. The first is about a friendship with an apple, and the second chronicles a bad day. Both encourage the reader to laugh at Dragon's stupidity, which is more pathetic than funny. From HORN BOOK 1991, (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

New York Review of Books Review

Know a child who just started to read independently? These old and new favorites are short, but they pack a memorable punch. my favorite books for fledgling readers don't have ranked letters or numbers or other indicators of "levels" on the covers. They're not part of megaseries like The Magic Treehouse or Junie B. Jones (useful as those books can be to get readers going). What they have in common is gorgeous art and extremely simple but highly literary writing - the kind of writing that lets a young reader know what an inner life can sound like. And while they couldn't really be called full-fledged chapter books, they are often cleverly divided into a few very short chapters, as a sort of secret handshake. These books tell new readers they have fully embarked on the journey to independent reading. All of these, I should add, are also fantastic to read aloud like a picture book to a child who is not reading alone yet. a friend for dragon Written and illustrated byDav Pilkey Scholastic/Orchard, $5.99 Dragon is blue, round, and not at all ferocious - in fact, he's kind and quite dim, which makes you want to protect him from all the trouble that finds him. What he needs most is something harder than it might seem to get hold of: a friend. First published in the 1990s, the Dragon books - there are five in total - are sweet, silly and profound all at once, with more of an edge than you usually find in this kind of story. The villain of the first is downright biblical: a merciless snake who tricks poor Dragon into thinking an apple is the friend he's been longing for. Pilkey is the big-hearted genius behind Captain Underpants, and his watercolor art for this more tender series has regular dollops of the emotional depth he can find in even the goofiest plot turn. TALES FOR THE perfect child Written by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier FABLES YOU SHOULDN'T PAY ANY ATTENTION TO By Florence Parry Heide and Sylvia Worth Van Clief, illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier Atheneum, $16.99 These ultrashort, ultrawitty tales of naughty children and badly behaving animals won a cult following when they first appeared in the 1980 s, but went out of print. Now they've been reissued with wily new art by Sergio Ruzzier that perfectly suits their offbeat sensibility. We meet Harriet, a champion whiner. "She practiced and practiced, and so of course she got better at it. Practice makes perfect." And there's Chester, a lazy turkey, who won't run when the farmer calls. "The next morning, which was Thanksgiving morning, Chester looked around the empty barn. It pays to be lazy, thought Chester." Heide, who died in 2011, wrote more than 100 children's books, including the classic Treehorn Trilogy, illustrated by Edward Gorey, and it's great to see her dark, winking take on the eternal conflicts between children and parents sally forth for a new generation. anna hibiscus Written by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobias Kane/Miller, $5.99 These days more American picture books feature racially diverse children than ever and international picture books are increasingly published here, but it's still hard to find early chapter books with children who are black, and children living in other parts of the world. This joyful series about a little African girl named Anna Hibiscus is a revelation - the books ring with laughter even as they stab (delicately) at your heart. In sprightly language and adorable line drawings, they tell the story of a young girl whose eyes are wide open to the beauty and the struggles of the place where she lives. A sense of strong community and mutual caring permeates throughout, with Anna both enjoying the routines of everyday life at her family's comfortable compound and, often, confronting and trying to help children who have much less than she does. Atinuke, who lived in Nigeria as a child but is now based in Britain, works as a traditional oral storyteller, and that's not surprising: She keeps Anna's stories moving while seeding them with helpful repetition and bits of warm humor. LITTLE TIM AND THE BRAVE SEA CAPTAIN Written and illustrated by Edward ArdizzoneFrances Lincoln, $18.99 Little Tim may be the original free-range child. These books were originally published in the 1930s, and they have aged well. Four have been reissued in handsome volumes, with classic pen-and-ink and watercolor art and big, old-fashioned letters telling the tale of Little Tim, who can't be more than 6 years old, but "wanted to be a sailor." He stows away on a steamer and kicks off a life at sea, with occasional trips back to see his relieved (but understanding) parents. There's adventure and danger, of course - in the first book, everything from seasickness to a harrowing storm that almost dooms Tim and the Captain - but it's all told in direct, clear language. The tone is just a tad mock-serious, but eminently respectful of the childhood wish for greater agency. If you're new to Ardizzone's art, you're in for a treat - his dazzling pen lines and watercolor brush strokes dance across the page, creating stirring vistas of the sea alongside witty, humane portraits of Tim and the people he encounters. BARKUS By Patricia MacLachlan Chronicle, $14.99 MacLachlan, the author of the beloved novel "Sarah, Plain and Tall" and many other books for children of all ages, makes her early chapter book debut in this first of a promised new series. The charm is infectious, with MacLachlan's almost hypnotically appealing language assembling a series of surprises for the plucky little redhaired narrator. First, her favorite uncle leaves a superfun dog, who names himself Barkus, at her house. He doesn't talk, but he doesn't need to: In successive stories he makes many exciting things happen, starting with what transpires when he comes to school with her - all the way to the appearance in the little girl's household of, yes, a new kitten too. Marc Boutavant's whimsical, graphically interesting art makes Barkus's adventures seem even more like some kind of candy-colored delight a child would be thrilled to pull out of her pocket. And of course ... FROG AND TOAD STORYBOOK TREASURY Written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel Harper - Collins, $11.99 The books in Lobel's series from the 1970s are something like modern classics, with their warm depiction of the devoted bond between worrywart Toad and magnanimous Frog, who might look somewhat similar but are polar opposites in temperament. While the friends approach life very differently and have the occasional contretemps, together they make a world of their own, a kind of community of two. The language is simple, and there are no contractions, which no doubt made the Frog and Toad books good candidates for the "I Can Read" series treatment they've lately been given, with the numbers on the cover telling parents their level. But I fear those numbers can also signal to kids that these are pressurized, teacher-mandated schoolwork, books that are out to measure them and rank them against their peers. If you can find copies of Frog and Toad without that business on them, I recommend those - with books as deep and rewarding as these, the numbers are just buzzkill. (Yes, they can indeed read - make them want to!) George and Martha Written and illustrated by James Marshall Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $6.00 These James Marshall books about two hippo friends may just be the ne plus ultra of the entire genre of Very Short Chapter Books. Many people consider these to be picture books, and they are rewarding to read aloud to any age child, but I think a fledgling reader will especially appreciate spending time with them. Each volume has four or five self-contained stories - vignettes, really - with few words, all easy to follow. The humor is strange and sneaky - the books kick off with George pouring split pea soup, which he hates but which Martha has made, into his shoe. There is something wonderfully cranky and realistic about the entire premise: two friends who try so hard to be nice to each other, and have a hard time figuring out how to do that. maria Russo is the Book Review's children's books editor.