After only reading the title, I’m willing to bet that you’re singing the familiar folk tune in your head right now. Did you know that the beloved song is turning 50 this year? I know that I grew up hearing it sung by my parents, sometimes even with my dad strumming on his guitar while they sang. Five years ago, I was absolutely blown away by the picture book version of the song that featured Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton’s lyrics accompanied by gorgeous illustrations by Eric Puybaret. Now the picture book has been transformed into a Puff the Magic Dragon board book, everything beautiful and wonderful the picture book had to offer in a smaller and sturdier format.
I have to admit that I’m not always the biggest fan of publishers re-releasing picture books in board book format, for often the story is much more complex than something a parent would actually read with a baby or toddler. But in this case, I see it as terrifically brilliant. Parents sing to their babies all the time, and I would imagine that Puff the Magic Dragon is on more parents’ playlists than just mine. Now dads and moms can snuggle up with their little ones, singing the familiar folk song while helping their babies turn the pages to gaze upon the lush painted illustrations.
Can we talk for a moment about these illustrations? They are nothing short of awesome, in the traditional sense of the word. I do look upon them with awe. Little Jackie Paper, perched upon a beach side cliff, clutching a small guitar with string trailing behind him, looks down at the majestic Puff who gazes at him with palpable love. Green is the dominant color in the pictures, but the many shades give the illustrations depth and beauty. Emotions, which are strong in the lyrics, are visually apparent as well, and I happily point out the joyful ending that is shown in the final images, as Puff finds a new friend, years after Jackie’s outgrown him.
For new parents looking to add to their board book collection, look no further than Puff the Magic Dragon, and get ready to sing to your baby!
Dawn adores picture books and wishes more adults enjoyed talking about their wonderful stories and beautiful pictures. Thankfully, her day job as a preschool teacher allows her to indulge in this interest on a daily basis. Even on her oft-neglected blog, my thoughts exactly, she talks picture books with more frequency than your average thirty-something.
Howard Sherman says
Reading this post made me smile. I’m glad to see this classic with a new lease on life. I always worry that older books lie forgotten on dusty shelves as new books with shinier characters come on the scene.
Thanks so much, Howard. I’m happy to be giving this book to a dear friend’s son at his first birthday party tomorrow, and I hope more smiles abound! 🙂