Washington – Kids love dragons. There are dragon toys, dragon movies, and dragon books. But while many of these things deal with dragons being strong and fierce, very few answer the really pressing questions children have about dragons. For example, what do dragons eat?
Jon Stahl provides a fun look at how to build a story while imparting essential information about the dietary habits of hungry dragons.
Problems With a Hungry Dragon
Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesdays isn’t just about dragons. It’s really a lesson for children in how to tell a story. We meet a cute blue monster who talks directly to the reader, and he has a story to tell. Once upon a time, the end! The audience will be sure to protest, and the direct address narrator knows this.
Talking to the reader, he tries again. The new story isn’t much better but we get our first hint of what dragons eat: children. But still, the story isn’t a story.
A second monster, Mr. Smart Guy, joins the book in an attempt to help the narrator form his story. The pair begin to build a story about a dragon. The blue narrator insists on a hungry dragon, Mr. Smart Guy helps flesh out the tale with detail. As the book progresses, so does the story. From a start of Dragon-eats-kid to a princess saving a cowardly knight from a hungry dragon.
While this isn’t the first book reader may have seen where the princess saves the knight, there is a fun twist here. Rather than the princess wielding a sword or befriending the dragon, she produces the official dragon menu. The menu clearly states that dragons only eat knights on Monday. The problem for the dragon is it is Tuesday. The dragon apologizes and runs off.
The narrators are pleased that they have created a good hungry dragon story. Unfortunately, for the monsters their story was so good that the dragon has become real. It is hungry. The monsters try to apply the menu rules from their story, insisting that dragons eat noodles on Tuesday. The dragon points out it is, in fact, Wednesday, and on Wednesdays dragons eat monsters. The story ends with the monsters in the dragon’s stomach talking about day old noodles.
Dragons Teach Story Structure
Jon Stahl has created a whimsical book that helps show story structure and plot to young children. Through the dialogue between the two monster narrators, children will be able to see how a story needs a beginning, middle, and ending, including conflict and resolution.
The book breaks down the story and uses the popular fairytale story type to be more appealing, while being able to add an original twist to the typical hungry dragon story. Most importantly for the children, they will learn what dragons eat each day of the week.
Tadgh (pronounced “TEEG”) Bently provides brightly colored illustration to bring this book alive. His two round monsters are friendly puppet type monsters rather than being scary. The hungry dragon is a goofy looking character with small hands and oversized teeth, although he is so large you rarely see more than a part of him at a time.
For teachers trying to teach story structure lessons or parents who have budding writers, Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesdays is a fun way to introduce children to how to build a story.
Dragons Eat Noodles on Tuesday written by Jon Stahl and illustrated by Tadgh Bentley was published by Scholastic Books on March 26, 2019. It is available as a hardcover or an ebook, and is recommended for ages 4-8. ISBN: 9781338125511