The Dragon Machine


George goes unnoticed like the dragons. When he feeds them ‘stale biscuits and smelly cheese‘ their numbers grow so that they risk being ‘captured and discovered‘. When he consults the map in the library, George learns where the dragons belong. Thereafter, he plans and creates The Dragon Machine. He packs ‘delicious stale biscuits and smelly cheese and himself into the dragon machine’ and leads the dragons ‘over the moonlit fields and woods‘ to their home.

Yet, why have the dragons appeared to George? Why does George go unnoticed? His absence is missed at home. When he crash lands the machine and falls asleep in the wreckage, what next? Could George’s return signal an absence of dragons?

The Dragon Machine is a rich, allegorical and empathetic picture book. Helen Ward’s mature, illustrative text alongside the nostalgic, heart- wrenching pictures of Wayne Anderson, form a perfect, beautiful story.


The Dragon Machine

Helen Ward, illustrated by Wayne Anderson

(Templar Publishing)

When George notices the dragons first it is a wet Thursday. Soon it seems like there is The Dragon Machine for the more dragons he seeks, the more he sees, although like George, the dragons go ‘unnoticed‘. Telephone wires, dustbins, butterfly chasing, cat taunting, water lily sinking… the dragons perplex and populate George’s world. While he feeds them ‘stale biscuits and smelly cheese‘ the dragons overwhelm George so that he spends ‘more of his time cleaning up.‘ George learns from his visit to the library that he has made the dragons too welcome. Furthermore, they risk being ‘discovered and captured.’ Therefore, it is up to George to consult the map to find where dragons belong. Thereafter, he must build The Dragon Machine that will lead the dragons home. However, what happens when George crash lands? In addition, what happens at home, for where is George really? What has happened to him?
The Dragon Machine is a powerful story of separation, discovery and wonder. Helen Ward’s text is gentle, magical and empathetic, while the soft, dreamy tones and rich shapes and hazy considerations of Wayne Andersons’ pictures are suggestive and glorious. What an outstanding picture book for all ages to love and linger upon.


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