Introduction: Begin by starting a discussion with the class about their pets at home or pets they would like to own. Shift the conversation and ask them to imagine outlandish and silly pets. Ask if anyone would like to have a dragon as a pet. Then begin reading the poem “A Fire-Breathing Dragon.”
A Fire-Breathing Dragon
by Douglas Florian
A fire-breathing dragon
Would make a precious pet—
It’s great for grilling hot dogs
And drying clothes all wet.
It gladly guards the house and yard
From burglars in the street.
On winter nights how it delights
To warm your frozen feet.
It eats unwanted guest for lunch
And munches noisy neighbors
Insistent salesmen at the door,
A hungry dragon savors.
A dragon is a noble beast,
A perfect primal pet.
The only trick
Is when it’s sick,
Don’t let it eat the vet.
[From: Bing bang boing: poems and drawings. By Douglas Florian, Harcourt Brace, 1994]
Extension: Break out the crayons, pencil colors, markers, watercolors, construction paper, and glitter; have the class bring their envisioned dragons to life. You may prefer to supply a dragon template for younger children. Students can also create their own dragon poem as an alternate activity.