What was Captain doing in Dragon's sandbox? He was moping. Because he'd lost
"Oh, no! I’ll help you find it! Come on!" Dragon said.
"Where are we going?” Captain asked.
"To my cave! I know I have a map there somewhere."
Armed with a (toy watch) compass, a (paper towel tube) telescope, and a
(handdrawn) map, Dragon and Captain set off on a great adventure.
Dragon is a boy who always wears his dragon robe. And Captain is a boy with a
three-sided hat. But as the boys' imaginations take over, we see them as they see
themselves, and the backyard as the boys see it: a dark forest, a craggy cliff, and the
Illustrated like a comic book, this book is a fantasy-filled graphic novel for the
picture book set.
Can Dragon and Captain find the lost ship... before lunch?
|Picture Books That Explore and Illuminate
Hardcover, 32 full color pages, ages 4-8
Peek inside by clicking the cover
Praise for Dragon and Captain
From Brooklyn Family Magazine, August 2015
"Ode to Calvin and Hobbes"
Set your kids' sails for an adventure with "Dragon and Captain," the debut picture book from P.R. Allabach. It's a
rollicking celebration of summer days and unleashed imaginations that will especially delight readers ages 4-8. Like Bill
Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, "Dragon and Captain" (Flashlight Press) is a graphic novel that moves between
illustrations of real life and the active imaginations of the two boys who transform into the dragon and captain. Captain's boat
is missing and the lighthearted, kinetic illustrations by Lucas Turnbloom depict the two friends' thrilling journey to find the ship
and infiltrate a band of pirates in order to recapture it.
In the imaginations of Dragon and Captain, a pocket watch becomes a compass and a paper towel tube becomes a
telescope. It's a reminder that children don't need lots of stuff to be entertained during their vacation days; they need
unstructured time, imagination, and a friend.
From Jennifer L. Holm, author of the Babymouse series
"I love the concept, and the art is fabulous…."
From Brian Anderson, Dog Eat Doug comic strip
"…the transitions between imagination and reality…are perfect for the target audience."
From Children's Literature
Captain turns up in Dragon’s sandbox, and together they hunt for Captain’s missing ship by utilizing a map made by Dragon.
Objects and locations in Dragon’s backyard become a bubbling waterfall, a dragon’s cave, a dark forest and more. A
telescope, compass, and a brave deed assure Dragon and Captain that the stolen ship is rescued. Fantastically humorous
illustrations showing the characters changing from ordinary boys to Dragon and Captain and back again enhance
this delightful tale. Captain spews a few colorful phrases like “blubbering bubblegum” and “thundering thumbtacks,” which
add flavor to the text. The characters appeal to young children and the setting and plot will inspire children to use their
imaginations to dream up their own tales. This first picture book by P.R. Allabach will make readers hope for more
Dragon and Captain books.
From The Corner on Character, Barbara Gruener
"Engagingly brilliant and eye-catchingly bold, Turnbloom's drawings are sure to suck you in to the adventure of these two
creative kids. They're that real! ..The two friends in this tiny treasure are so reminiscent of that out-of-bounds Boy and his
Tiger from Bill Watterson's comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes."
From OMazing Kids
"I love the large illustrations and simple dialogue depicted on each page or two-page spread. This style of book also lends
itself well to showing kids a sequence of events. It is also filled with lots of great vocabulary, verbs, adjectives, spatial
concepts, predicting, inferencing, teamwork and imagination."
From Good Reads with Ronna
"My curiosity is always piqued by books that contain maps inside their front and rear covers. Happily, Dragon and Captain
has got ’em! Here’s why. Maps play a crucial role in this story, presented in comic-style format.
This original picture book features two main characters who happen to be next door neighbors. It’s also clear the boys are
friends who’ve played a pretend game of Dragon and Captain countless times, if Dragon’s map is any indication. Dragon, a
boy in a dragon robe, and Captain, a boy with a tri-cornered hat, have their work cut out for them the morning the story
opens. Captain, it seems, has lost his ship!
Together, Captain and Dragon must brave the unknown by going through a forest, down a cliff and ultimately to the sea in
their quest to find the missing vessel. Armed with a compass, a telescope, the map, and massive amounts of imagination,
Dragon and Captain set off on a creative adventure (in the backyard) as their moms chat nearby.
Dragon and Captain must foil a bunch of pirates’ plan to commandeer Captain’s ship. Can the duo stop this dastardly deed
and get home in time for lunch? Well this reviewer won’t say, but you can probably guess the answer by the expressions on
the boys’ faces in the illustrations below!
Between Allabach’s pleasing prose and Turnbloom’s terrific artwork, the team of Dragon and Captain and their
active imaginations come to life in this thoroughly enjoyable role playing romp. Picture books like this one should
certainly spark children’s interest in inventing their own games of make believe."
From Kid Lit Reviews - 6 stars!
Debut author Allabach and award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom blend the picture book with the graphic novel
for a unique experience
Imagine a picture book partially written as a graphic novel. That image is Dragon and Captain, the story of two little boys
who wake up one morning to confront a mystery—where is the Captain’s ship. Did the sea grab hold, dragging it far away,
or did something more nefarious occur?
While enjoying his breakfast, a blue-hued Dragon spies a red-haired pirate trespassing in his sandbox. Rushing out, Dragon
confronts the intruder, “Hey, pirate. What are you doing in my sandbox?” “I’m not a pirate, good sir. I’m the captain of a
ship.” “You look like a pirate.”
Thus begins the wonderfully witty and whimsical, fantasy-filled, backyard adventure. Turnbloom’s graphite, ink, and
digitally painted illustrations alternate between the boys’ imagination—told as a comic strip—and their reality—seen in
traditional picture book spreads. The process enhances the story with vivid action, and gives the reader direct access to the
young boy’s right-brained imagination and creativity.
Captain and Dragon’s world is void of technology. A crayon drawing, a paper-towel tube, and a toy watch respectively
become a map, a telescope, and a compass. What would your imagination do with green bushes, a water sprinkler, and a
stone walkway? How would your creativity re-claim the Captain’s ship using only toy sandbox shovels, paper, and a
bicycle? Why must the duo sneak past the one-eyed teddy bear? Captain, and his new friend Dragon, trek through a
dangerously dark forest and scale a cliff to reach the sea, never leaving the backyard and finding all the above items valuable
to their journey.
I love that Dragon and Captain could ignite a child’s innate imagination, sans technology. I love that after reading
Dragon and Captain, kids might see their surroundings as an adventure; everyday objects as imaginatively malleable; and
reading as exciting and
essential. Parents will enjoy reading Dragon and Captain to their children, especially after hearing their cries of, “I’m bored.
There’s nothing to do around here.” Yes, there is something to do and Dragon and Captain will show the way. Kids will love
the brightly colored illustrations by award-winning cartoonist Turnbloom, and the backyard fantasy-adventure, smartly written
by debut author Allabach. Dragon and Captain is a terrific book for any “Books for Boys” list, yet girls will love it,
too. Aye, matey, this girl adores both the Dragon and the Captain.
From Children's Literary Classics
Dragon and Captain is a real joy to behold. Told in comic book style, it is a quick and light read which is simply
enchanting. But the crowning glory of this whimsical book is the illustrations which nearly steal the show from the witty
humor penned within the pages of this delightful book. Author P.R. Allabach and Illustrator Lucas Turnbloom are quite a
team as they depict a day in the life of two boys playing make-believe. Vivid illustrations charmingly depict the boys
becoming immersed in a wild and daring adventure. As they don makeshift costumes the two are transformed into a life-like
dragon and his wily companion, a ship's captain. Creativity runs rampant in this book which is sure to capture the hearts and
imaginations of young children. Dragon and Captain comes highly recommended and has earned the Literary Classics Seal
From No Flying No Tights
"...Although the plot itself is simple...the use of sequential art to tell the entire story is sophisticated and advanced for
the target audience, making this a real standout. Comic conventions in picture books are nothing new—word balloons
in particular—but graphic picture books are often fantasy, such as Kevin O’Malley’s Captain Raptor series and David
Wiesner’s Caldecott Honor book, Mr. Wuffles. Here, author P.R. Allabach and illustrator Lucas Turnbloom have succeeded
in creating a realistic picture book told entirely through sequential art for the very young.
Children and adult readers alike will relate to the experience of the youngsters’ imaginative play, told through juxtaposed
images of reality and imagination, such as when the cover image is seen inside the book opposite a panel of the two boys in
costume “thoomp”-ing through the kitchen, while the back cover of the book shows the two costumed boys running toward a
bedroom door with a sign that says “dragon’s cave” in childlike scrawl. Even the endpapers are in on the fun—the front
endpaper features a pirate’s map, while the back shows a childlike hand-drawn version of the same locations.
The digitally painted images are full of bright, bold colors and lots of visual humor. For instance, Dragon, bright blue with
purple spikes on his back and a yellow stomach, looks incredibly goofy with his tail stuck on a tree, while in the panel below
the young boy attempts to pull his costume tail off the twig of a bush. Meanwhile, redheaded Captain’s large glasses that
magnify his eyes mirror the young boys’ perfectly, creating an adorably meek and timid looking ship’s captain.
I would not often choose a graphic picture book for a story time read aloud, but I cannot wait to read Dragon and
Captain at my library. With some strategic pointing and the use of different voices for Captain and Dragon, I envision this
being great fun with a preschool or early elementary crowd. Of course, reading in a small group or one-on-one would
also be a great opportunity for the child to do some of the storytelling by describing the images, providing an excellent
chance to work on visual literacy skills.
I hope we’ll get to see how the next adventure with that sea monster goes in another book with these great
From Midwest Book Review
Dragon and Captain appears to be a children's picturebook at first glance, but the story inside is told entirely in graphic novel
format. Two young boys engage in imaginative play; one thinks of himself as a blue dragon, the other as an intrepid ship's
captain. Together, they embark on an adventure to win back the captain's seaworthy vessel from thieving pirates! The
colorful, cartoony art almost jumps off the page, in this high-spirited adventure sure to spark a smile.
From 1st Grade Reading
Dragon (aka a young boy) is eating his oatmeal when he spies a possible pirate on the beach (aka another boy in the sand
box). Of course, Captain is not a pirate. He’s a ship captain who’s been separated from his ship. Dragon and Captain set out
to find Captain’s ship and re-capture it from the real pirates. First, they need things from Dragon’s cave (er, bedroom). They
trek through the dark forest (bushes) and stop at a waterfall (sprinkler). They spot the ship and defeat the pirates. Then it’s
snack time. All the while, the grownups lurk in the background abut never interfere. The interaction between imagination
and reality is brilliant. It will show kids that anything is possible. The illustrations are vivid and colorful clearly show how
each boy resembles his alter ego. First graders will be able to tell the story from the pictures while still working on
their literacy skills through the sparse text. The way the boys immediately get caught up in each other’s fantasies
shows how easy friendship can be.