Malpas the dragon ISBN: 9781843105725
Published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2008
Malpas has been brought up by his parents to be a very angry young dragon, and when they decide they don't want him anymore, he is turned out and proceeds to be thoroughly unlikeable - flying around the world 'screaming and moaning and farting'. Everyone is afraid of him, and because he smells terrible as he never washes or cleans his teeth, no one will come near him. For awhile, he is pleased at the fear he causes, but then he becomes lonely and retreats to a cave. Sometimes he flies out to capture a maiden, but when he brings Haley back to the cave, he discovers she is a modern maiden who expects him to clean up his act. When he refuses, she leaves (as she's not about to wait for a knight to rescue her) and starts up her own cleaning business. This leaves Malpas sad and lonelier than ever, and, in his misery, he cries stone tears, each with 'a small red mark like a flame of fire in the middle'. He sends the stones to Haley, who gives them to 'children who, like Malpas, found it hard to love and be loved.' Each child finds warmth in the stones and understands Malpa's loneliness. Love is at the centre of this remarkable picture book, and while there is no happy ending for Malpas, there is understanding. The pictures are full of humour as well as sympathy. An excellent choice for children surviving on the edge. Available from Amazon, good bookshops, or from the publisher at www.jkp.com.