When a Dragon Moves In Again

Written by Jodi Moore
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

If you build a perfect castle, a dragon will move in – and that’s exactly what happens to one very lucky boy when his family gears up for some changes.

The boy and his dragon bounce in their castle, duel with delight, and have an amazing time together…until they find out that their castle is a crib for a new baby. Huh?

As soon as they get used to the news, the boy and dragon are back in roaring form, entertaining the infant with marching music, aerial acrobatics, and baby-bottle bowling.

But merriment turns to mischief and mischief leads to consequences.

Can a dragon friend – real or not – help smooth the transition to big brotherhood? Find out…When a Dragon Moves In Again.

friendship, imagination, beach, dragons, family, dad, sister, mom, mischievous, new baby, behavior, imaginary friend, brother, time out,responsibility, fairness, when, a, dragon, moves, in, againfriendship, imagination, beach, dragons, family, dad, sister, mom, mischievous, new baby, behavior, imaginary friend, brother, time out,responsibility, fairness, when, a, dragon, moves, in, again


  • Scholastic Book Club Selection
  • Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval


From Publishers Weekly
Moore and McWilliam return with a follow-up to 2011’s When a Dragon Moves In, as the boy from that book contends with the arrival of a new sibling. Adding insult to injury, the boy’s imaginary red dragon seems to be quite fond of the baby boy, leading to a tantrum and a time-out. McWilliam makes adept use of varied visual perspectives, and his artwork has a sculptural depth and emotional vividness that, when combined with Moore’s second- person narration, will make readers feel like they are right there with this growing family, through all of its messy, noisy, and tender moments. Ages 4–8. (Sept.) 

From Kirkus Reviews
In this companion to When a Dragon Moves In (2011), it turns out that castles of any sort, not just sand, attract dragons, so the soon-to-be-born baby’s crib, with its crenellations and turrets at the corners, has an occupant even before mom gives birth. The dragon and the boy start off doing their best to entertain the new baby, but their efforts are not always appreciated. The baby’s bottles are not toys, and no matter how it makes the baby giggle, mom and dad just don’t appreciate their son playing airplane in the house—and they’re not buying the boy’s explanation that the overturned plant is the dragon’s work, not his. The last straw is his father’s declaration that “we’ve had enough of this dragon business.” Well, the boy’s “had enough of this baby business!” Will the baby get sent back as the boy demands of his parents, or will the boy decide that maybe the baby’s not so bad after all? As in the previous title, the big question here is whether or not the dragon is imaginary. Regardless, the dragon is definitely the boy’s release—his way of engaging in naughty behavior and then blaming it on the dragon—when it’s tough to accept the new changes around the house that come with a baby. McWilliam’s pencil and digitally painted illustrations are wonderfully raucous and tongue-in-cheek, and his facial expressions are spot-on. It doesn’t matter whether or not they can be seen; there’s a little bit of dragon inside each of us. Here’s to dragon-taming. (Picture book 3-8)

From School Library Journal
“The fun-loving, jubilant imaginary friend from When a Dragon Moves In is back in this stand-alone picture book. The bright red dragon moves in when a young boy and his father build a castle, which in this case is actually a crib with castle detailing. The boy and the dragon joyfully play in it until the rest of the family reminds them that the crib belongs to the soon-to-be-born baby. Making way for the newborn soon becomes the norm for the young protagonist. As he adjusts to his new role in the family, the protagonist experiences the ups and downs of a new baby. Things come to a head when his dragon naps with the infant. The big brother feels displaced and tells his parents, “I’ve had enough of this baby business! Send him back!” Soon, he goes to check on the dragon and crying baby, whom he manages to settle and accept after all. The colorful pencil and digitally painted cartoon illustrations are expressive and relatable. VERDICT Readers will hope that this dragon keeps coming back.”

From Children’s Literature
This very imaginative fantasy deals with the arrival of a new baby in the family. It opens with a small boy helping his dad put together a crib that he perceives as a castle for a dragon. The youngster imagines all sorts of wonderful adventures for himself and the bright red, bug-eyed dragon. But reality sets in when the family reminds the lad that the new baby will be the one using the crib. After the arrival, the boy continues to dream up plenty of situations with the dragon to amuse the baby. Many of these end up getting him in trouble and he reacts in a most typical manner by yelling “Send him back!” Of course that does not happen and eventually all ends well. The lively cartoon-like illustrations drawn in pencil and then colored digitally burst from the pages and make the story great fun. It is sure to be a hit during story hour. If the first book When a Dragon Moves In is part of the collection and in demand, add this title. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth; Ages 5 to 7. – Sylvia Firth

From Brooklyn Family magazine, Sept 2016
“Sibling rivalry tips the scales”
After four years, the sequel to the adorable “When a Dragon Moves In” finally roars into bookstores this month. I predict author Jodi Moore will win even more awards for “When a Dragon Moves In Again” (Flashlight Press) in which the boy, his big sister, and his parents prepare for and welcome home a baby. This must-read is recommended for families with an infant on the way – especially readers ages 4-7 – who are gearing up for their responsibilities as a big brother or sister. The illustrations by Howard McWilliam are just as full of mischief and humor as the first, but the sequel touched my heart with its ability to show how the boy’s well-meaning attempts at entertaining his new sibling could be misinterpreted as acting out or jealous antics – or, is it the rascally dragon who’s to blame? As Moore’s book makes clear, a new baby changes everything, and reading this story aloud offers a wonderful opportunity for your child to open up about worries that could be weigh in on his mind about the impending special delivery.

From Children’s Bookwatch in Midwest Book Review
…superbly told and fantastically illustrated, providing a storybook experience that matches all the exuberant energy and emotions of an imaginative small boy.

From Literary Classics – CLC Seal of Approval
Jodi Moore’s When a Dragon Moves in Again is a lusciously imaginative children’s picture book laden with fanciful scenarios that will entertain and delight young readers.  Illustrations by Howard McWilliam are the crowning glory of this lovely book which is highly recommended for home and school libraries.”

From Author Kimberly Sabatini
So often a second book doesn’t quite live up to the heart and soul of the first. This isn’t the case with When a Dragon Moves In Again. In this follow up, our young boy and his dragon sidekick, grow in complexity as their family expands. Moore and illustrator Howard McWilliam have created a classic. Dragon will leave you laughing and feeling mischievous, but it will also tug on your heart strings–you won’t want to miss having your very own Dragon to love.

From Kid Lit Reviews
…Moore has captured the new baby experience, complete with all the excitement and ensuing jealousy felt by older siblings. Dragon becomes her bridge between big brother and little, and she does it with much heart and humor. Her text is lively, easy to read multiple times, and gives the illustrator much to work with.McWilliam transforms Moore’s captivating story into images full of warmth and gives the reader a relatable family. His illustrations are wonderfully expressive, giving even the mostly speechless dragon wide range of emotions. I love the three illustrations set showing dragon playing with the baby (while the young boy takes a time out). It is easy to fall in love with When a Dragon Moves In Again, including the new family member, no matter how much he cries and drools. When a Dragon Moves In Again is the perfect picture book for dragon lovers of all ages. Parents expecting a new child will find this brightly colored, priceless picture book. Kids will love the story and the lively images, which have a cartoonish look. If you loved When a Dragon Moves In —and who did not— you will adore When a Dragon Moves In Again.

From Kidpeople Classroom
This story is about a little boy whose imaginary dragon comes to stay with him right around the time the family is prepping for the arrival of a new baby. Our little protagonist has a slew of mixed emotions about becoming a big brother and it’s very convenient to blame the dragon for some of his less-than-brotherly behaviors.Things take a turn for the worse when the dragon, his dragon, takes up residence in the baby’s crib! Did the dragon really switch sides? How can this come out okay in the end? I loved the vivid illustrations that capture the full gamut of emotions in the book. McWilliam adds incredible detail in whimsical ways. I enjoyed every page, even the endpapers that let the story begin right in the front cover and go all the way to the back. The “oh, fancy endpapers!” were a big hit with the kidpeople, too. (I am kind of an endpaper nut, so my guys always check out the endpapers of books.) In the front of the book the endpapers show a scrapbook of the family before the baby is born, and then the scrapbook includes the baby at the back. You also see the dragon in previous shots at the front because this is not the first book in which our hero and his dragon appear, hence the title, When a Dragon Moves in AGAIN.  We first meet the boy and dragon in When a Dragon Moves In, which you should also take a peek at. It really is fun having an imaginary dragon friend. Some of you might recognize McWilliam’s illustration style from another book he illustrated and I reviewed last year– I Need My Monster. You can read my review of that book, which I LOVED, by clicking on the book cover below. Another reason for adding this book to your collection is that it focuses on a topic very pertinent to the kindergarten classroom– the arrival of newborn siblings. Moore handles the complex and conflicting feelings that big brothers and sisters have about new babies in very true ways which all my kiddos could connect with, even those who don’t have younger sibs.
I had been saving this book because a little guy in my class was expecting a new baby brother at Thanksgiving time. When my student got back from break and shared his news, I was ready. We read the book which lead us into a great discussion of how babies act and what they need in their habitat– we are all about habitats now that we just wrapped up our animal unit.
I then put a twist on the book’s theme with my illustrator husband’s help. I had Jonathan draw a baby dragon which I then copied in small size. All my kiddos drew a suitable habitat for their new baby, then added their cut out and colored baby dragon to the scene. They got to use glitter glue on the wings and a small piece of felt for a baby blanket. The kids just loved their babies. I also gave a writing prompt– What do you think is the best and worst part of having a new baby in the house? Their answers were great– with poopy diapers and kissing cheeks coming out the tops in each category. (I’m sorry I don’t have photos of their work– my role as lead teacher pulled my out of the room several times this week and I missed my opportunity.)
I give When a Dragon Moves In Again five stars. I think you and your kids will enjoy it whether you have new babies arriving within your families or not.  And if you’d like the baby dragon to use as an extension, just click here for a downloadable freebie. To use him in different sizes print him in various multiples so he comes out reduced.

From San Diego Book Review
…[a] welcome sequel to Jodi Moore’s When a Dragon Moves In. A boy and his imaginary dragon friend react to the arrival of a new baby in the house…. humorously demonstrates behaviors of sibling rivalry, temper tantrums, and finally, reconciliation. The use of second person is reminiscent of When You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and works well to convey the protagonist’s point of view to a young reader. The story is both funny and touching. We feel the boy’s frustration with his new baby brother. Happily, love triumphs. For now, at least.Howard McWilliam’s illustration style is reminiscent of Caldecott-winner Dan Santat’s. The pictures are a perfect blend of realism and cartoon, demonstrating terrific mastery of color and composition. The use of spot art effectively hastens the pace. The illustrations are loaded with engaging detail. Even the reflection of the dragon in the boy’s eyes is shown. This is an artist to keep an eye on!

From KidsBookBuzz at City Book Review
Reviewed by Paloma, age 9
It’s an especially good book for little kids who are about to be big brothers and sisters.  The whole book is hilarious.  I especially like when they are bowling with bottles.  Whether or not you have a dragon, you will enjoy this story.

From Looking Glass Review
Children who have a new baby sibling in the house are going to love this dragon-filled, sweetly funny picturebook.

From Mommas Bacon
I admit sometimes I skip over books simply because of the cover.  It’s not that the illustrations aren’t fantastic or that it wouldn’t be a good children’s book, but I have two little girls so when a book seems very centered on all things ‘BOY,’ I sometimes hesitate.  That was how I missed reading the prequel of the award-winning book called When a Dragon Moves In, about a young boy who has adventures with his wonderful and imaginative dragons.  Luckily, I did not miss the sequel which centers on the boy becoming a big brother for the very first time! As this is a very relevant topic in our household (yes, even two years later) Brooke and Brie get a kick out of sibling stories and I also learned that I need to stop always judging a book by its cover since When a Dragon Moves In Again has quickly become a household favorite. In When a Dragon Moves In Again, a young boy has become a big brother and he and his beloved dragon dedicate themselves to entertaining the little baby.  However, things don’t go exactly according to plan when the drooling, crying baby somehow charms the dragon and his attention.  The boy is not excited about the sudden shift of attention away from him and decides he’s had enough of this baby business. Adult readers will see the dragon as the boy’s alter ego—eager to cuddle with the new baby before the boy himself feels quite ready, then as a conduit to the boy’s acceptance of the baby, and finally as kindred spirit with whom the boy can commiserate. Younger readers will love the boy’s wonderful, though perhaps invisible, dragon friend who helps him be a good big brother.  This is a wonderful read for big brothers AND sisters alike and even for little sisters like, Brie, who are starting to understand the concept of sharing and learning how to be a good little sister, too. Great book!

From Kiss the Book blog
If your Dad builds a castle, a dragon is sure to move in. But even with a dragon, things might go badly if that castle is really a crib for a baby. A baby!? Who wants one of those. Well, after a lot of crying and spilling, maybe you do – at least for today! 
Moore hits the ups and downs of having a new sibling with just the right notes. McWilliams colorful chaos, with dragon, are perfect compliment. 
Pre-K, EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE. 

From Midwest Book Review, Larissa Juliano,
When a Dragon Moves In Again has equally gorgeous illustrations from corner to corner and captures the human characters expressions/emotions so magically that readers will find something new to look at with each read. This sequel begins with the father building a “castle” and of course this brings our fiery friend back into the plot. I marvel at the imagination and writing of author Jodi Moore as she ties the whole story together to the dragon adventures (is he part of the boys imagination or isn’t he?) into welcoming a baby into the family and the boy changing his mind about the new addition in a heartwarming ending. (Ages 5-7)

From Corner on Character, Barbara Gruener
This hilarious text takes an honest and authentic look at the sibling jealousy that can ensue when a new baby joins the family. From bowling with baby bottles to flying for the newborn like a superhero, the dragon-boy dynamic duo does its best to get the attention {connection} that a middle child craves when an infant sibling arrives.
Expect the boy blaming his antics on his dragon to spark a discussion about real versus pretend, about honesty and dishonesty and beg the age-old question:
Is it ever okay to lie? 
And then prepare to be wrapped in a blanket of warmth by the very real snuggle scene; the author’s powerful words paired with the illustrator’s brilliant visuals will reach down into the depths of your emotional reserves to endear you to this heartwarming treasure
Check out this book; it’ll be the perfect addition to your collection and a really fun gift for that mommy-to-be in your circle.


About the Creators

Jodi, Moore, friendship, imagination, beach, dragons, family, dad, sister, mom, mischievous, new baby, behavior, imaginary friend, brother, time out,responsibility, fairness, when, a, dragon, moves, in, again

Jodi Moore is the author of the When a Dragon Moves In series. Jodi has written articles for various magazines and newsletters, and is co-developer of an educational series for the hospitality industry. Writing for children has always been Jodi’s passion because she strongly believes that if you nurture children’s imagination, you will nourish their dreams. Proud of her “Jersey girl” heritage, Jodi attributes some of her best childhood memories to time spent “down the shore.” She lives in Boalsburg, PA, with her husband and two sons who are relentless in their quest to build the perfect sandcastle.
You can find out more about Jodi and her work on her website


howard, mcwilliam, friendship, imagination, beach, dragons, family, dad, sister, mom, mischievous, new baby, behavior, imaginary friend, brother, time out,responsibility, fairness, when, a, dragon, moves, in, again

Howard McWilliam is the illustrator of the When a Dragon Moves In and I Need My Monster series. In 2005, Howard left his work as a magazine editor and journalist to concentrate on his growing career as a cartoonist and illustrator. He is published in a wide range of UK magazines and newspapers, and is the cover artist for The Week. He has won numerous awards and competitions for his work. He lives in Cheltenham, England with his wife Rebecca and his two sons. 
You can find out more about Howard and his work on his website

Book Details

ISBN: HC 9781936261352  ePDF 9781936261536  EPUB 9781936261543  KF8 9781936261550 Audiobook 9781947277632 Read-along Audio 9781947277069
Print Length: 32 Full Color Pages
Publication Date: Fall 2015
Age Group: 4-8
Lexile Display: AD490L
Words Count: 422

friendship, imagination, beach, dragons, family, dad, sister, mom, mischievous, new baby, behavior, imaginary friend, brother, time out,responsibility, fairness, when, a, dragon, moves, in, again

Activity Guides & More

THEMES: new baby, big brother, imagination, dragon, emotions

    Leveling Information

    Lexile Measurements provided by Metametrics. Guided Reading Levels provided by Marla Conn using Fountas and Pinnel Guided Reading Text Characteristics.

    Lexile Display: AD490L

    Word Count: 422

    MSL: 5.944

    MLF: 3.527

    Decoding Display: High

    Semantic Display: High

    Syntactic Display: Medium

    Structure Display: High

    Guided Reading Level: K

    Grade Level Equivalent: 2

    Interest Level by Grade: Pre-K-3

    Educational Description: Picture book, Sequel to When a Dragon Moves In, narrative prose

    Story Elements: setting: home, plot and character development: young boy main character, problem and solution, humorous tone, detailed illustrations enhance meaning and tone

    Comprehension Strategies: identify cause and effect relationships, changes from beginning to end of the story, predict outcomes, make inferences and make text-to-self and text-to-text connections

    Themes: family, new sibling & creative imagination