March 22, 2006
Last weekend Amanda Craig reviewed new dragon books in the Times, of London. She looked at Carole Wilkinsons's Dragon Keeper ("the most captivating children’s book I’ve seen so far this year") and Angie Sage's Flyte ("jolly, freewheeling stuff"), and mentioned other dragon stories, too, singling out Dick King-Smith's 1994 Dragon Boy.
Some favorite dragon lit at our house includes the picture books Ignis, by P.J. Lynch, about a dragon who cannot breathe fire; The Library Dragon, by Carmen Agra Deedy, about an overzealous librarian/dragon transformed by the attention of a child (á la the Grinch); and a beloved 1970 item picked up at a book sale, Gumbel: The Fire-Breathing Dragon, by Seymour Fleishman. In that one, a lonely homeless dragon finds companionship (and employment) with a Boy Scout type of group; he heats their lodge.
We also own the appealing beginning reader Good Night, Good Knight, by Shelley Moore Thomas, in which a knight needs to tuck three chirpy little dragons into bed, as well as Ruth Stiles Gannett's classic chapter book My Father's Dragon (but haven't yet read it) and a hand-me-down Disney video of The Reluctant Dragon, in which the beast is a super-fey poetry-lover. Although I'm ambivalent about the video (is Disney sympathetic with the dragon or making fun of him?), I'm interested in reading Kenneth Grahame's original book.
In case anyone is just now returning from the Land of No TV, I'll also point you to the popular (and then some) PBS series "Dragon Tales," which has spun off into videos, books, and DVD's. Along with "Arthur," "Dragon Tales" is one of our first-grader's favorite shows (and he doesn't even know the program has an "educational philosophy").
Misunderstanding dragons seems to be a common theme. What other dragon books do you and the children you know like? I haven't even come close to a full dragon round-up! You can mention them in the comments section, below. Because of spam problems, the comments are now moderated and won't show up immediately, but I promise to check often.
Two of my favorites and those of little ones I know include: Who Wants A Dragon? by James Mayhew and The Popcorn Dragon by Jane Thayer.
Posted by: PJ Librarian | March 22, 2006 at 05:32 PM
We love Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke, and Jack Prelutsky's The Dragons Are Singing Tonight is a lot of fun.
Posted by: Sheila Ruth | March 23, 2006 at 09:16 PM
I am a bit of a dragon nut myself. I have a sidekick who is a dragon, my office was always filled with dragons and student drawn pictures of dragons. I love Ignis. The illustrations are wonderful. The Library Dragon is the library profession's touchstone book.
Posted by: Camille | March 24, 2006 at 01:58 AM
My son LOVES dragons (we did a whole unit-study on them!) so I asked him to reccommend his favorites. His all-time favorite is Dragonology. He also likes the Dragonology Handbook, Dragons of Deltora series By Emily Rodda, Hatching Magic, Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville, and Discovery of Dragons by Graeme Base.
Posted by: Theresa | March 24, 2006 at 11:45 AM
Wonderful suggestions, everyone! Thank you. Can't wait to look for these. I just checked Grahame's "The Reluctant Dragon" from the library.
Posted by: Susan | March 24, 2006 at 12:46 PM
I have an 8 year old son who loves dragons. We have some books that you didn't list - The Wooden Dragon by Joan Aiken (I love Joan Aiken,) The Book of Dragons by Michael Hague, The Kingfisher Treasury of Dragon Stories, The Red Dragon by Stephen Wyllie, and How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.
Thanks for this...now I have some ideas for future gifts for my son.
Posted by: patty (awesmom on librarything) | March 24, 2006 at 08:39 PM
I love The Library Drogon! One of my favorites to read at the beginning of the school year.
Last spring, I adapted Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon into a play for our school. Students are so wild about dragons! I just can't get enough titles to make everyone happy. Didn't Grahame Base do a book on dragons? Thanks for some new titles to explore.
Posted by: MsMac | March 26, 2006 at 10:26 AM
You're right, Ms. Mac. Graeme Base does have a good called Discovery of Dragons, but I've not read it. I bet your play was neat. I did pick up The Reluctant Dragon to read.
I'm so pleased to hear about all these other dragon titles!
Posted by: Susan | March 29, 2006 at 01:14 PM
Hi! I'm trying to remember the name a Harper Collins (1960-70's?) children's book about a little princess, one of many sisters, who brings home a dragon from the woods and keeps her as a pet for a while until she get too big to hide. The dragon has babies and all the princesses have a friend. The illustration is similar to "The Giving tree" mostly green, black and red. Please let me know I'm going crazy trying to remember. Thanks!
Posted by: dawn | January 14, 2007 at 02:39 PM
Hi I am looking for a book I enjoyed as a child and so did my children. I want to find it now for my grandkids but I dont know the publisher or the author..sadly I am not certain of the title either. I believe it to be Kevin of Devon, a delightful story of a brave boy turned knight who goes after a dragon to save his town when all others refuse. It is done all in poem form.
If anyone out there knows of or remembers this book please drop me a note and let me know if the title is right or any other info you may have thank you.
Posted by: tammy p | May 05, 2008 at 01:41 PM
Hi, Tammy. If you search for "Sir Kevin of Devon" at Amazon, I think you'll find the book you're looking for.
Good luck with your quest.
Posted by: Susan T. | May 05, 2008 at 02:02 PM
I'm looking for a strange children's book that had two little kids looking for the source of a lot of smoke and discovered it was a dragon smoking lots of cigarettes. Anyone know of this book?
Posted by: Ellen R-W | February 05, 2009 at 12:22 PM
There's a cigarette-smoking dragon in Jeff Smith's graphic novel Bone: Out of Boneville. Could that be it?
Posted by: Susan_Thomsen | February 05, 2009 at 02:53 PM