Teaching our children that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being different is one of those lessons that many children's books have tried to cover and it's the main theme in Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon.
Marmaduke is different from the other dragons. His ears are too big and he's noticed that his wings aren't the same as the ones on the other dragons so he's too scared to try to fly with them. He just wants to be like the others and protect a princess like they do and he feels so very very lonely.
Princess Meg also isn't like the other princesses. Whilst they are all sitting nice and quietly Meg looks a bit of a mess and is dancing around. Meg doesn't really have friends either, but she's too busy having fun to mind.
One day Meg and Marmaduke meet though and they both come to realise how much they want and need to be friends, and their friendship also helps them see how differences can be embraced.
I think this book handles the subject of differences and to some extent bullying really well. There's one page where Marmaduke is crying after one princess told him that he "wasn't a real dragon" because he was different and this really concerned Little Miss C but did start a good conversation about how saying nasty things to people can be hurtful.
Overall it's a lovely book, with lovely illustrations and a great story that also breaks the typical stereotype of how a princess behaves – something I'm always a fan of.
Disclaimer: We were sent a copy of Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon for the purposes of this review. This post contains affiliate links.
Both paperback and hardback versions of Marmaduke the Very Different Dragon are due to be published by Bloomsbury on 13th March 2014, priced £6.99 and £10.99 respectively.