A small boy states that he is “called to tame dragons” and proceeds to do so in a question-begging flight of fancy.
He knows there are real dragons because he has dreamed of them, sleeping under a chestnut tree in the forest. He has his tools and traps and tricks; he has a plan. He calls to the dragons, who come belching flame and stomping, but he wraps them in soft blankets, settles them in the clover and takes out his tools (pot and milk and chocolate) and soothes them into sleep. “Everyone needs a cuddle. Maybe dragons more than most,” says the boy. As the tale winds down, boy, dragons and many small creatures (duck, frog, rabbit, dog, bat, hedgehog, etc.) sip their hot chocolate and settle in. Although the time of day seems like naptime rather than bedtime earlier, the moon comes up as the boy snuggles under his blanket on the tummy of a dragon. The spare, soft pictures, with their slight lines and rounded shapes, seem to belong to a much less fanciful story; the dragons look a bit like Moomins, round-faced and pastel-colored.
One could, perhaps, see the dragons as personified fears or bullies or other childhood terrors, conquered by the brave wielding of chocolate, but one could also see a slightly unfocused and underimagined bedtime story. You make the call. (Picture book. 4-7)