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Kumiko And The Dragon
Author - Briony Stewart

Kumiko is a little girl of about nine. She likes to listen to her Obasaan’s stories before going to bed. But she hates sleeping alone at night. She often pleads to sleep with her mother but her mother won’t hear of it. Each day, bedtime is a torment for little Kumiko as she plods upstairs with a frightened heart that beats furiously and feet that drag on each stair. Once in bed, Kumiko crawls under the covers and pulls them up to her nose. As always the room becomes pitch dark and Kumiko can hear the dragon coming. Every night he sits outside Kumiko’s window breathing smoke and looking fierce. Kumiko shrinks into her bed and tries to keep awake until her eyes can longer remain open and she falls asleep in spite of herself. It is the same every night and Kumiko always dreads bedtime.
Then one day Kumiko plucks up enough courage to write the dragon a little note which she sticks on her window. The dragon, Tomodo reads the note and is astonished to find that Kumiko is afraid of him. He tells her that he sits there each night, not to frighten but to protect her. He tells her even more astonishing things which Kumiko can hardly believe. But she begins to trust him and eventually feels safe enough to begin a terrifying but wonderful journey on Tomodo’s back to discover a startling secret which will reveal who she really is.
Kumiko and the Dragon is Briony Stewart’s first book. It won the Inaugural Voices On The Coast Writing Competition in Australia. It is a marvelous story for young readers. Briony is also an illustrator and has drawn all the delightful pictures in the book. She was born in West Australia in 1984 and spent much of her childhood watching cartoons. She says that she still loves watching cartoons especially with chocolate.

Excerpt :

I have never been on anything in my life that moved so quickly. Tomodo and I speed across the land like we are made of the wind itself, slipping between the mountains and making holes in the clouds. It is at once the most wonderful and the most terrifying thing I have ever done. I hold on to Tomodo so tightly my hands hurt. But I hardly notice this, because looking down, I see we are flying over places I have never seen before, and I know I have never been so far away from home. Below us, our moonlit shadow races over rice fields, and in the distance I see only black, as though the land is coming to an end. Tomodo flies more slowly and I see that we are near the ocean. Many small houses crowd near the water and all around them fishing boats sway up and down. We land on a roof with green tiles.

Book Facts

Published By : University of Queensland Press
ISBN : 978-0-7022-3619-8
Format : Paperback
No. of Pages : 65
Target Audience : Ages 7+
Release Date : Sept 3rd 2007
Price : AUD 16.95
To Buy : University Of Queensland Press
General Enquiries Number (+61 7) 3365 2127
General Enquiries Email uqp@uqp.uq.edu.au

Review - Shoma Mittra

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