A colourfully illustrated, magical story set on the Pembrokeshire coast about a kind old gentleman who befriends a sad young dragon, gives him a name and, with the help of a kind witch, teaches him to dance; for readers aged 9-11 years.
Graham Howellss magical land and seascape illustrations draw on a geographic Pembrokeshire of dramatic cliffs and Celtic relics with a definite echo of Disney animations and the Tolkienesque with Sorcerers Apprentice dancing furniture, personified dancing trees, a benevolent witch and fairy tale folk too. Vibrant colour along with more subtle backdrops and scenes, a gallery of characterful expressions, (mostly) dynamic drawings which practically jump off the page, and decorated endpapers of amusing green Coydwig woods-folk all merge together to produce a picture book which resonates with energy and which readers will enjoy exploring. Unusually, Mr Barafundle wakes up to find that his rose-tinted-glasses world is being disturbed by eerie moans and wails. By tuning in his mobile island home to the power of the great bluestones, he is able to float to the headland where he finds the sobbing culprit, a young rockdragon who should have flown south for the winter long ago. This nameless creature, having been born late in the season, has been abandoned because he cannot fly. Needless to say, through resourcefulness and the help of white witch Hakins herbal potions, Mr Barafundle enables rockdragon Stackpole to cheer up and gain in self-esteem by choosing his own name and becoming the champion rock-dancing champion of the world. This book is charming without being cloying, but its joy is not the plot which happily avoids predictability at the end or the convincing make-believe world (a world not too far removed from that of Anne Lewiss Bwganwood for older readers), but in its language and style. Well-paced poetic prose and musical verse abound in accessible imagery and fun word play; a rip-roaring twmpath of a myriad dance steps insists readers and listeners join in. Here the prolific Julie Rainsbury has created a jolly hobbit or leprechaun-like character and a miserable but endearing crimson rockdragon whom children of five to eight will want to meet again. M. Lorna Herbert Egan It is possible to use this review for promotional purposes, but the following acknowledgment should be included: A review from www.gwales.com, with the permission of the Welsh Books Council. Gellir defnyddior adolygiad hwn at bwrpas hybu, ond gofynnir i chi gynnwys y gydnabyddiaeth ganlynol: Adolygiad oddi ar www.gwales.com, trwy ganiatd Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru. -- Welsh Books Council