There's a Dragon in My Dinner by Tom Nicoll

There's a Dragon in My Dinner

Written by Tom Nicoll
Illustrated by Sarah Horne
Part of the There's a Dragon in... Series

5+ readers   Debuts of the Month   7+ readers   Reluctant Readers   Books for Boys   
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The Lovereading4Kids comment

February 2016 Debut of the Month Dragons come in all shapes and sizes in children’s stories, but the one that Eric finds in a box of beansprouts is small, friendly and lots of fun. Pan is a mini-dragon, lost en route from China to Mexico, but soon happily settled in Eric’s sock drawer. Cue lots of opportunities for fun and games, including run-ins with both the cat and Eric’s greedy, spoiled next-door neighbour. Tom Nicholl has a relaxed but lively writing style that makes this very readable, and very funny too. Sarah Horne’s equally lively illustrations – mini-dragon burping the alphabet for example – make it even more accessible.

If misbehaving dragons light your fire, try the equally funny Dragonsitter series by Josh Lacey. ~ Andrea Reece

A Piece of Passion from editor, Emma Young There's a Dragon in My Dinner! is the first in a new young fiction series which is guaranteed to delight readers. I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of a very naughty but very endearing pet dragon the size of a spring roll arriving in their takeaway? Talk about livening things up! Pan the Mini-Dragon likes chatting (a lot), setting fire to his own farts and snacking hungrily on dirty laundry, and it is impossible to know what he is plotting at any given time. Poor Eric – his human owner – must keep Pan a secret while covering up the trail of destruction he leaves in his wake. Tom Nicoll’s warm, hilarious text is complemented perfectly by Sarah Horne’s energetic and characterful illustrations and I predict that children across the land will be left examining their dinners to see if they can find a Mini-Dragon of their own!

Commenting on the inspiration for Pan the Mini-Dragon, Tom said: “I’ve always been drawn to stories about unusual friendships and a miniature dragon who can talk and light his own trumps is, by anyone’s definition, an unusual friend to have. I always enjoyed the ‘Little Vampire’ books growing up, for example, where you had a normal kid constantly struggling to keep a friendship going with someone from a completely different world. I’ve tried to capture that aspect in this series, except with considerably more dragon-based flatulence.”


There's a Dragon in My Dinner by Tom Nicoll

As Eric empties the cartons from Friday night's Chinese takeaway, he catches a flash of green and spots a puff of smoke...So Pan - a Mini Dragon - enters his life, and proceeds to turn it upside down. How is Eric going to explain the trail of devastation caused by one creature not much bigger than a spring roll?

The first in a hilarious new series starring eight-year-old Eric Crisp and Pan the Mini-Dragon. Aimed at readers aged six and over, this perfectly-pitched young fiction debut is full of laugh-out-loud moments and packed with lively black-and-white illustrations by London-based illustrator Sarah Horne.

About the Author

Tom Nicoll

Tom Nicoll has been writing since he was at school, where he enjoyed trying to fit in as much silliness into his essays as he could possibly get away with. When not writing, he enjoys playing video games (especially the ones where he gets beaten by kids half his age from all over the world). He is also a big comedy, TV and movie nerd. Tom lives just outside Edinburgh with his wife, daughter and a cat that thinks it's a dog. There's a Dragon in My Dinner is his first book for children.

A Q&A with the author

How did you make the characters of Eric and Pan come to life? I wish I could give some deep or technical answer here – like I spent months researching dragon lore or something – but the truth is I just set out to write a book that made me laugh. I think it helped that before I had even started writing I had planned out the entire story. So I knew where things had to go and I had such a clear idea in my head of not only Eric and Pan, but all the characters, that most of the time it almost felt like all I really had to do was let them get on with it!

If you had a Pet dragon like Pan, what would he be called and what would he look like? I’m not sure how much of a say I’d have in his name to be honest, his mum and dad would probably sort that out. But if I did, I’d probably go for a traditional dragon name like Zakarra or Malar the Magnificent or Steve. A jet-black dragon would be pretty cool. He’d probably wear a Mini-leather jacket and ride a Mini-motorbike. He’d basically be a Mini-Dragon Fonz.

What would you get up to with your pet dragon? I think for the most part we’d probably do our own thing. I’d be writing books and he’d be working on his Mini motorbike. But at least once a month we’d meet for a catch up, maybe go see a film or get something to eat. Of course Mini-Dragons only eat mountain goats, prawn crackers or dirty washing so our choice of restaurants might be limited. Actually, maybe we could capitalize on the gap in the market there and go into the restaurant business together. Hmm…

Are any of the adventures based on real life events? Unfortunately not, they’re all just things I’ve made up. Except for one time when my parents smuggled me inside a crate of beansprouts to another country and I ended up being delivered to someone’s house inside a Chinese takeaway. But then we’ve all been there, right? Right?

Are there any more adventures planned for Eric and Pan in the future? There’s two more books in the series coming out this year. In the next one, There’s a Dragon in My Backpack! Eric reluctantly agrees to bring Pan to his school. But when their horrible neighbour Toby dragon-naps him and takes him to his school instead, Eric has no choice but to launch a daring rescue attempt. And in There’s a Dragon In My Toilet! we’ll get to meet some more Mini-Dragons, including Pan’s Aunt and Uncle. If you love Pan, you’ll love… actually, no you’ll hate his aunt and uncle. Seriously, they’re just the worst.

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Book Info


144 pages
Interest Age: From 6


Tom Nicoll
More books by Tom Nicoll

Author's Website


Stripes Publishing an imprint of Little Tiger Press Group

Publication date

11th February 2016




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