My Father's Dragon

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My Father's Dragon
My Father's Dragon book cover
AuthorRuth Stiles Gannett
IllustratorRuth Chrisman Gannett
CountryUnited States
SeriesMy Father's Dragon trilogy
GenreChildren's novel
PublisherRandom House
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardback & Paperback)
Followed byElmer and the Dragon 

My Father's Dragon is a children's novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett, with illustrations by her stepmother Ruth Chrisman Gannett.

The novel is about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby dragon. Both a Newbery Honor Book and an ALA Notable Book,[1] it is the first book of a trilogy whose other titles are Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland. All three were published in a 50-year anniversary edition as Three Tales of My Father's Dragon. It was made into an anime film titled, Elmer's Adventure: My Father's Dragon, alongside a new animated film to be released in 2021 on Netflix.

The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as "my father", giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago. The other two books in the trilogy are narrated in the third person.

The illustrations within the book are black and white done with a grease crayon on a grained paper, done by Ruth Chrisman Gannett, who also illustrated other children's books such as My Mother Is the Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Paco Goes to the Fair, Miss Hickory, Hipo the Hippo, and adult books such as Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck and Cream Hill by Lewis Stiles Gannett, the author's father and husband of the book's illustrator.

The book is in the public domain, as its copyright was not renewed after 28 years.

Awards, nominations, and recognition[edit]

My Father's Dragon was one runner-up for the 1949 Newbery Medal, by which the American Library Association annually recognizes the year's best American children's book. It was also nominated for the Ambassador Book Award in 1948.

Based on a 2007 online poll, the National Education Association named it one of "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children".[2] In 2012 it was ranked number 49 among all-time children's novels in a survey published by School Library Journal.[3]

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations[edit]

In 1997, the book was made into a Japanese anime film titled, Elmer's Adventure: My Father's Dragon. It starred Yu-ki as Elmer Elevator and Megumi Hayashibara as Boris the dragon.[4]

In 2011, the book was adapted into an American children's stage musical by Travis Tagart.[5]

In 2018, Netflix announced that the book will be adapted into an animated film by Irish animation studio Cartoon Saloon for a 2021 release. Nora Twomey was announced as the director and Meg LeFauve as the film's screenwriter.[6]

Other formats[edit]

A public domain online edition of My Father's Dragon, a 1949 Newbery Honor Book, is available at A Celebration of Women Writers.

My Father's Dragon public domain audiobook at LibriVox


  1. ^ "Random House entry". Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  2. ^ National Education Association (2007). "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children". Retrieved 2012-03-22.
  3. ^ Bird, Elizabeth (July 7, 2012). "Top 100 Chapter Book Poll Results". A Fuse #8 Production. Blog. School Library Journal ( Retrieved 2012-08-22.
  4. ^ "IMDB entry". Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  5. ^ "Travis Tagart Official Website". Retrieved 2012-06-13.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^