#231 – When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore

When a Dragon Moves In

5 Stars

When a Dragon Moves In

Jodi Moore
Howard McWilliam
23 Pages     Ages: 4 to 8

Inside Jacket:  If you build a perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in—and that’s exactly what happens to one very lucky boy on the beach. The boy and his dragon brave the waves, roast marshmallows, roam the shore, and have a perfectly amazing time together.

But when the boy tries to share the news of his magnificent dragon, no one believes him, That’s when the mischief begins. The dragon devours every last sandwich, blows bubbles in the lemonade, and leaves claw prints on the brownies.

Is there really a dragon running around on the beach, or is someone’s imagination running wild?


Winter is the perfect time to be thinking of the beach—when cold, think of warm sand on a hot day, or hot sand on a warm day. A winter vacation on the beach is the best time to build the perfect sandcastle. But build a perfect sandcastle and a dragon will move in. What happens when a dragon moves into your perfect sandcastle? You must be the one to feed it, play with it, and hide it, because no one anywhere on the beach will believe you have a dragon in  your  perfect sandcastle.

When your dragon gets excited and roars, your parents will say something like, “Yes, dear, we hear the ocean too.” Show them a dragon feather and they will say, “That’s a seagull feather, put it down.” Try to show them a dragon claw and your parents will say . . . I do not know, this one isn’t in the book. So your family does not believe you, the beach bully will if he tries to mess with you.


What good is a dragon in your perfect sandcastle? Well, for one, no beach bullies.  Your dragon has fire—roast marshmallows. Can he fly? Yes and he is a perfect kite. If your sibling, you know, the brat, starts to bug you how can your new resident help you? Well, lots of things come to mind, none of which I should write. Let’s just say he can—without hurting anyone, physically.

I like When a Dragon Moves In. The illustrations are brightly colored and animated. The text is wildly imaginative. And it is perfect for boys; and especially boys who refuse to read or do not like books. It’s about building and there’s dragons! What could be better?

The illustrations of the little boy and the dragon will have you laughing. Most of the time, the boy and his dragon, are identical in both body language and facial expressions. When the boy winks, so does his dragon. This makes it difficult to know if there is a dragon or a little boy with a huge imagination.


The pages in When a Dragon Moves In splash with color and detail, even in the far off areas of the water. The text has a boy’s imagination. Girls might like this—I’m a girl and I like it—but mostly this is a boy’s book.

Is there really a dragon in the sandcastle? Is the dragon part of a vivid and active imagination and not real? Hm. Let’s see, the boy definitely has an active imagination, which is real. If his imagination is real, why can’t the dragon be real? He did build a perfect sandcastle. Perfect sandcastles are known to attract dragons.

Using all the logic I can muster, I conclude that the boy’s imagination and his sandcastle are real, so the dragon must also be real. All this means is, before you go to the nice warm beach this winter—or next summer—it would be wise to take along When a Dragon Moves In.


When a Dragon Moves In

Author: Jodi Moore    website
Illustrator: Howard McWilliams   website
Publisher: Flashlight Press    website
Release Date: 2011
ISBN: 978-0-979974-67
Number of Pages: 32
Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright ©2011 by Flashlight Press, used with permission.
Text: Copyright ©2011 by Jodi Moore.
Illustrations: Copyright ©2011 by Howard McWilliam

7 thoughts on “#231 – When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore

  1. Pingback: A Boy, a New Baby, and a Dragon?! | Kid Lit Reviews

    • This book is calling you Erik. It kept saying, “Erik, where is your sandcastle? Erik, where is your sandcastle? ERIK, WHERE IS YOUR SANDCASTLE? Hey, kid. You need a dragon in your sandcastle? I seem to be free.” Poor dragon. Never got his name.


  2. OMGoodness! Dragons scare me like crazy. Mom wrote a story called Dragon Sandwich, which she’s trying to get published (nothing yet), and I was spooked the whole time she was writing it and reading it out loud to herself. Yikes!

    Love and licks,


    • Dragon Sandwich. Whoa. Does your mom have a thing against dragons or just tired of all the dragon books? Sandwiches, huh? What did that taste like? She is a good writer so she must have done some research, maybe tasted a dragon sandwich or made them at home? Probably a bit scaly. And tough. Tough and scaly.

      Actually, the title is great. I like it. Sometimes publishers pass on the best stuff. Maybe Schiffer Publishing would be interested. They do a lot of interesting picture books. They published Shadows on My Wall and one called They’re Coming (reviewed both, go to the op and search to find reviews).


  3. I’m pretty sure I’ve met this dragon on my last beach vacation. He was in his sandcastle, waiting for his boy, and he had marshmallow goop all over his tail.
    Yep, it was this dragon.

    Awesome dragon book!


    • Are you saying there are dragons in Hawaii? There isn’t any sand in , um, up north. Did you go to a dragon convention? You know, the one held in Transylvania? Yeah, I know that place is for vampires, but with the economy I heard they are holding all sorts of imaginary being conventions. But no sand. This dragon is definitely a sand-dragon. I also heard this sand-dragon makes great dragon sandwiches.


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