You’d think that once a book was on the shelves the story inside it would be over. But schoolchildren around Cork have been proving otherwise. Talks on My Secret Dragon during Children’s Book Festival have unearthed all sorts of different possible plotlines and motivations from the ones that drive the book.
Reading short pieces from the beginning and end of the story, I asked the children to guess what might happen in between and why. It was a great exercise in linking cause to effect and understanding human motivation (what would you do on discovering someone is part-dragon? How could different people react? etc.). The alternatives the children have suggested could fill several more books.
The questions, too, about how Aidan’s mum can hide her clawed hands and feet and fire-breathing habit, have been enough to test the most ardent part-dragonologist. My favourites so far? ‘How does she know what size shoes to buy if she can’t have her feet measured?’ And ‘Does she have to shop online?’