Maud is a dragon who doesn’t fly with the others, though she really wishes she could.
The night dragons awaken at the end of the day and breathe out flames that fill the sky with “great gray, sooty clouds” to cover the sun and create night. The other dragons tease Maud and make her feel useless and weak. Her sole friend, Mouse, tries to encourage her to find her own way of doing things, but she is not convinced. One evening, when the other dragons are sleeping off the effects of a wild party, the sky remains light way longer than usual. Mouse accompanies Maud and cheers her on as she steps off the mountain, flaps her wings, and soars into the sky. She blows clouds of fire, but they are definitely not gray. They fill the sky over city and country with bright colors that allow the sun to set in beauty. Howarth’s watercolor illustrations depict all the dragons colorfully in deep shades of green, blue, and purple, but Maud is seen in all the brightest and most cheerful of hues. The daylight scenery is also varied and colorful, contrasting with the darkness of the dragons’ nighttime activities and making Maud’s efforts even lovelier. The tale is slight and a bit preachy: Other dragons bad, Mouse and Maud good. But the lessons of courage and individuality are universal.
Lovely to look at, if lacking substance. (Picture book. 4-6)