The Dragon in The Closet

Video Source: Dragon

“If you love witches, personal heroes, dragons and monsters, this book is for you! The illustrations are really engaging and the various short chapters/stories will spark your child’s imagination.”
-Jenn K. -Amazon reviewer

“Perfect for monster loving kids, as I once was! Fanciful but ever so slightly scary monsters plague poor Orin's life, perhaps as the result of a curse placed on him by a dragon living in his Nana's closet (she's a witch!). Lots of fun with beautiful monster illustrations, and a tone reminiscent of Maurice Sendak and Roald Dahl.” -Phil M. -Goodreads reviewer

*This article contains Spoilers

My kids love dragons and fantasy stories more than nearly anything else. Lately they’ve been keeping up with a new series called The Dragon in The Closet. The story of a cursed little boy named Orin Bean who has one unfortunate encounter after another with monsters that hope to chew him up. As comic books go, it’s not exactly scary, no more so than your average fairy tale, and my kids love it. They read it aloud to me several times and to themselves about 30 times. Fortunately the second issue recently came out so now they have that. There are many things I really like about this series so far that I’d love to share.

1. The Dragon
He’s bright red with a long purple tongue and seems to know the future. His story of how he wound up in Orin’s closet is still unfolding but he’s such a great character visually I like every page that he’s on.

2. Nana
As a parent, I can deeply relate to the character of Nana. She’s Orin’s grandmother? Aunt? It’s not really clear but she’s definitely his savior. She uses a lot of magic to keep him safe and her job of caring for a child with “unusual needs” never ends.

3. It keeps my kids reading
This seems a bit obvious but for my 6 year old these books have been a big deal. He read both issues on his own and they’re over 50 pages long. It’s engaged him more than picture books and I love that he’s enjoying them and excited for the next ones.

4. The Layered Mystery
The series starts with a lot of revelations but also a lot of serious mysteries. Who is Orin and why would anyone want to curse a child? How did they wind up with a giant, red dragon in their closet? Where are all these monsters coming from? The first two are touched on in issue two, but the answers just raise more questions. I really can’t wait to see where this is headed.

5. The Fish Monster from issue 2
Ok, this is a total spoiler but there’s a fish that gets transformed into a crazy bug-eyed monster and it’s hilarious. I just love that thing.

6. The Art
The art has a genuinely appealing style to it. Very consistent throughout both books and it’s not really like much of the art I see in books these days. The artist, Carolyn Watson Dubisch, does a good job.

7. The Fairytale tie-ins
Issue #2 starts to touch on the story of “Jack and the Beanstalk”. I won’t say how but a story that reaches out and brings in familiar fairy tales really appeals to me. I played the audio books of The Sisters Grimm series for my kids on some road trips and they loved it. When a book series has fairy tale tie-ins it’s an automatic five stars from me.

8. The short chapters
By short I mean really short. Sometimes it’s just a few pages and it switches gears. For my son this has been incredible because he felt accomplished after each and every chapter. He’s really only just starting to read, and for most of us that was a really long time ago so it can be hard to remember the sense of accomplishment from finishing a chapter. I think short, little chapters is a great idea for a children’s book.

9. The Webcomic
The series is free online if you go to the webcomic. Buying the books has you ahead of the online comic, but it’s great to explore the series and if you want to follow along there it updates each Saturday morning.

10. More to come
There’s obviously a lot more books coming out soon. The first two books came out within a few months of each other so my kids have more books to look forward to and more reading on the horizon!

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