Clarence the Candy Eating Dragon
by Sue Walters

"’What did I eat? I don’t feel so good!’"

Clarence is a baby dragon who lives in a cave filled with stalactites and stalagmites close to a forest and camping ground. When two children come to explore his home, Clarence draws closer to investigate the situation, and in doing so, he inadvertently scares them away. The children accidentally drop candy, which Clarence eats despite the hesitation of his friend Shoo-Shoo, a raven. The candy makes Clarence ill, and he breaks out in multi-colored polka dots. To help himself feel better, Clarence goes for a dip in the nearby river, promising Shoo-Shoo that he will never eat human food again. Meanwhile, the children enjoy the sight of what they believe is a colorful, dotted river rock as they leave with their parents.

This short tale focuses on reminding children to always be careful to pick up all their food and trash when they go camping with their families, not only for the sake of cleanliness but also to prevent wildlife from eating it and getting sick. Children are also sometimes tempted to pick up candy they find on the ground, which can be very dangerous. Another possible lesson children might take away from this book is that they should be careful about eating too much candy, or else they could start to feel very ill, just like Clarence (although they are unlikely to feel better by jumping in a river). As such, this story can act as a gentle way for parents to discuss the need for moderation with their children, caution about food from unknown sources, and the importance of protecting wildlife and the environment whenever their family takes trips to the forest.

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