Dragon and Captain
Written by P.R. Allabach
Illustrated by Lucas Turnbloom
What was Captain doing in Dragon’s sandbox? He was moping. Because he’d lost his ship.
“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 immense sea.
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?
- IN Young Hoosier Book Award list, 2017-18
- Literary Classics Seal of Approval, 2015
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 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 characters!”
From illustrator Lucas Turnbloom
[Dragon and Captain is] about two imaginative boys who think they’re a Dragon and a ship’s captain. They go on an epic backyard adventure to recover Captain’s lost ship from evil pirates. The book is designed to look like a graphic novel, and is very much in the spirit of Calvin and Hobbes. It was a lot of fun to illustrate! It is my hope that this will be my first of many picture books.
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… 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 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.
About the Creators
Phillip Allabach is the author of Dragon and Captain, illustrated by Lucas Turnbloom. He served in the US Army in Afghanistan and lives in Wilmington, North Carolina where he is a husband, a dad, and a small business owner. Dragon and Captain is his first picture book.
Lucas Turnbloom is the illustrator of Dragon and Captain, written by P.R. Allabach. He is an award-winning cartoonist and illustrator best known for his comic strip, Imagine THIS, which is syndicated through Universal Press/Uclick. While working for several years as a feature artist for the San Diego daily newspaper, The North County Times, Lucas earned 16 first-place awards for his cartoons and illustrations. He was a contributing artist for Darkhorse’s Axe Cop graphic novel series, and Andrews McMeel Universal’s Eisner and Harvey award-nominated anthology, Team Cul de Sac: Drawing the line at Parkinsons. His work has also appeared in USA Today and TIME.com. Lucas was a contributing artist to the Peanuts’ 65th Anniversary Tribute Anthology, and the illustrator of a full-color graphic novel trilogy, Dream Jumper, written by actor Greg Grunberg, published by Scholastic. Turnbloom lives in San Diego, CA with his wife, two sons, and one scary raccoon who lives somewhere near his tool shed. Dragon and Captain was his first picture book.
ISBN: HC 9781936261338 / ePDF 9781936261772 / ePUB 9781936261789 / KF8 9781936261796
Print Length: 32 Full Color Pages
Publication Date: Spring 2015
Age Group: 4-8
Lexile Measure: 380L
Word Count: 597
Activity Guides & More
THEMES: friendship, imagination, backyard adventures, maps, play, pirates, dragons
- Integrating Graphic Novels into the Curriculum
- Coloring Page 1
- Coloring Page 2
- Coloring Page 3
- Coloring Page 4
- Real and Imagined?
- What Is It Game
- How Do You Imagine Your Backyard?
- Make a Newpaper Pirate Hat
- Make a Simple (Pretend) Telescope
- Make a Treasure Map