Disney’s Pete’s Dragon flies into theaters on August 12th, but kids can access the story early through a junior novelization. In addition, fans can go beyond the story and learn about Pete’s and Elliot’s adventures in the forest before the film through a chapter book called Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years. Both books are written with ages 8 to 12 in mind.

Pete’s Dragon The Junior Novel

Pete's Dragon Junior NovelThe Pete’s Dragon Junior Novel is based on the screenplay by David Lowery and Toby Halbrooks, telling the story as it existed when the film was in production. A car accident as a kid left Pete abandoned in the forest as a child, but a mysterious dragon became the boys guardian. When a forest ranger named Grace finds the boy, she takes him home to her family. But when Elliot’s hideout gets discovered, Pete and his new friends will have to work together to save the dragon.

Pete’s Dragon: The Junior Novel is a small, softcover book that’s easily portable. Like most junior novelizations, it features eight glossy pages with color photos from the film in the center of the book. While I haven’t seen the film yet to compare it, these junior novelizations often feature scenes that were deleted from the film since it is based on the screenplay rather than the final film.

Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years

Petes Dragon Lost YearsPete’s Dragon: The Lost Years is an original story about what happened from the time Pete was lost in the woods to right before Grace finds him. This hardcover book features some new artwork by Nicholas Kole to support the text by Elizabeth Rudnick. It has a more deluxe look and feel when compared to the Junior Novel and is perfect for any kid who loved the film.

The book is split into four sections, one for each season. It gives readers an idea of how Pete and Elliot found food they both could enjoy, how they kept warm during the winter, and how Pete was able to build his magnificent tree house. There is also an adventure that dominates the second half of the book where the two get separated during a storm and have to find each other.

Pete’s Dragon: The Lost Years may not tell as satisfying a story as the film of the Junior Novel, but it does offer an enjoyable trip back to the forest to learn about how Pete and Elliot helped make each other’s lives better. It will strengthen readers’ appreciation for the film while offering a spoiler-free prequel (or in-between-quel as the case may be).

Recommendations

If you or your little one can’t wait for Pete’s Dragon to hit theaters, I recommend starting with The Junior Novel and then moving to The Lost Years depending on how you enjoy it. But for anyone who loved the film, The Lost Years offers an expanded universe instead of a retelling of the story. Both are fine movie tie-in books and also note that a third book is available, a childrens picture book Elliot Gets Lost that Pete reads as a child in the film.