Reading/Interest Level: Primary
Author: Linda Ragsdale
Illustrator: Marco Furlotti
Publisher: Flowerpot Press
Sherwyn is adventuring one day when he runs into another adventurer: a big, scary dragon! But wait, she’s not so scary after all. In fact, she’s really nice! When Sherwyn looks a little closer, he finds she is even covered in hearts: she is Omani the Peace Dragon. Sherwyn and Omani become fast friends, and Sherwyn wants her to find a loving home in his village. He takes her home, and the villagers are not so thrilled about this “big, scary dragon,” but together Sherwyn and Omani teach them to look a little closer.
The intended moral of the story is stated clearly on the first page, “This is a story…about how the things we see aren’t exactly what they seem.” Oftentimes when confronted with something different, our initial response is to act defensively or aggressively. Omani the Peace Dragon teaches a better way in her responses to the reactions of both Sherwyn and the townspeople. This teaches to respond positively even to negativity. Sherwyn learns that sometimes you need to stop and overcome your initial fears, because you may find something wonderful. The townspeople are indicative of society. Like Sherwyn, they respond negatively when confronted with something different. Linda Ragsdale subtly criticizes the use of stereotypes, as that is the thing the villagers fall back on, “Dragons are scary!” “Dragons are nasty!” Then “one gentle voice in the crowd” points at the mob’s shadow and says “Are we a nasty dragon?” The mob realizes they are scarier than the actual dragon thanks to a “gentle” nudge to self-reflection. This book is an essential read for elementary students.