The Dragon Riders--the third and final book in the best-selling Dragon Brothers trilogy of children's picture books from Auckland author James Russell and illustrator Link Choi--is now in stores. The main characters are two boys and their pet dragon named Elton John.
Russell explained to EJW: ''I always thought the best party in the world would be to have Elton John playing at your house!
''Of course my parents had all his records and we listened to them often, so I guess that's where it came from.''
With sales of over 6,500 books, this is a self-publishing success story. Russell set up a company to publish his work in 2012, and teamed up with Choi soon after.
''I put up a notice on the board at the Media Design School in Auckland, and Link was the first to reply. As soon as I saw his work, I knew I had my illustrator,'' James recalls.
The Rocket Man also played a part in their second book: Link drew a picture of an attic full of treasures. which included a book full of records. On top was one of Elton's.
In the latest book, New Zealand's native flora and fauna also are depicted.
James says: ''I've often thought I'd like to send Elton a copy of the books - his own children must be about the right age for them.''