39 pages 1 hour read

Ruth Stiles Gannett

My Father's Dragon

Fiction | Novel | Middle Grade | Published in 1948

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Character Analysis

Elmer Elevator (“My father”)

With his eager grin, his jaunty sailor’s cap, shorts, striped shirt, and his vital knapsack, Elmer looks every inch the intrepid explorer—and his actions prove it. Young Elmer shows he has gumption: the courage, ingenuity, and empathy needed to rescue the baby dragon. Although Elmer shows some impatience with the cat’s lengthy story, and in his quick willingness to run away from home, these behaviors are not shown as major flaws, and certainly don’t hinder Elmer’s enthusiasm for adventure.

Elmer has an independent streak and longs to see the world. The cat offers Elmer the excitement he craves: a perilous quest, a remote, unexplored island, and a noble cause. Elmer is up to the difficult task. His interactions with the animals of Wild Island reveal his bravery, cleverness, and tact. Elmer has the courage to visit Wild Island while adults, like the fisherman, are too frightened.

Elmer remains optimistic and positive when faced with conflict. He adapts his plans when situations change, like when he is unable to follow the river. Elmer stays calm in the face of danger and does not give up, even when the mob of angry animals is right behind him. He shows his big heart in his empathy for both the old cat and the helpless dragon.