Welcome to Part 2 of my crazy dragon piles of books. If you missed Part 1, check it out for information on the chapter book we read, My Father’s Dragon, and all the crafts we ended up making with my South Bronx storytime group.
As promised, here is the rest of the pile of dragon books we ended up loving. It is quite a varied assortment, my only criteria being that there must be a dragon in it in some way. Themes work best when there is great variety among the books instead of feeling that they drag out. I’m going to do my old, big lists thing and just give one picture and a brief statement about each. So let’s read some dragon books!
1. There’s No Such Thing As A Dragon by Jack Kent, 1975
Jack Kent is one of my very favorite illustrators. This book is subtle, humorous and charming. It is about a boy who wakes up to find a tiny dragon in his bedroom. He tells his mom and she insists that there is no such thing. So he ignores the dragon, only to find it continues to get bigger and bigger until the family finally has to deal with its mere existence. There is a lot of clever phrasing in the text, including how the mother has to stand by her statement despite the obvious evidence. Also, Jack Kent is brilliant with his expressions and studying his illustrations always leaves you quite satisfied. If no other book on this list strikes your curiosity, grab this one. My daughter requests it often, which in a house full of books, I always note the ones that get special request as they must have something special about them.
2. Again! by Emily Gravett, 2013
It took me a bit to warm up to this one, merely because I’m not always keen on bad behavior being so easily picked up by my impressionable toddler. But, it turns out this one is excellent for a bit older crew and perfect for storytime. Even the 9-11 year olds in my group were cracking up and happily supplied the voice of the little dragon’s refrain throughout. It is a scene all too familiar to many parents, a little dragon requests a bedtime story from his parent. At the end of the first reading he asks for it again. His mother complies, but the twist of the book is that you also read the book she is reading with each page; and with each reread, she alters the text a little. Finally, she falls asleep in exhaustion and everyone gets a kick out of what happens to the poor, unsatisfied dragon.
3. The Egg by M.P. Robertson, 2004
This is quite a beautiful book. A boy finds an egg, realizes it is a dragon egg, hatches it, and attempts to prepare it for dragon life despite its human “mother.” It is fairly short, but quite touching with bits of humor as well. And the illustrations are beautiful.
4. The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola, 1980
While I love this book, it is actually a little difficult to read to a large group, so plan ahead. It is signature Tomie dePaola style and humor, but a portion of it is in comic panels so there is occasional help needed to “read” the panels of action. The story is a spin off of the St. George and the Dragon kind of tale, with the knight and the dragon both attempting to learn how to be their characters in a battle. Their practices are comical and the ending is hysterically funny to grown ups and kids alike.
5. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light, 2014
This book works on so many levels. It can be used as a counting book. Or it can be used for just a simple storyline. Or it can be a fun seek-and-find story as you help the protagonist find his dragon in each spread. The art is stunning and I love the use of limited color on each page. And of course, it is set in NYC which pulls my heartstrings too. Steve Light does such excellent work.
6. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri, 2012
I ignored this book for a long time simply because it seemed to have a cult-following among the general public. For some reason, that occasionally turns me off. But when I needed a good dragon book, I knew this one wouldn’t let me down. And we own it now too. And have given it as a gift as well. Absolutely hilarious book! The premise is the narrator is talking to the reader and the boy on the page about how much dragons love tacos and how to throw them a truly great taco party. The key is to not include any spicy salsa. So, you guessed it. Spicy salsa mistakenly appears and chaos ensues. Easy laugh, but awesomely done.
7. Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen, paintings by Derek Anderson, 2012
Jane Yolen text is always a bit lyrical to me. I like how brief the text is in this book. It is a lovely, short read, given to as little or as much time as the reader desires to spend with the book. It is a simple story about waking up dragons and getting them to start their day, but the illustrations show the funny, difficult stuff that the text doesn’t allude to. It works well.
So, those were the books I actually used, and these last three are some that I wished I had worked in. I need to share them to feel the dragon-fest is complete. So bear with me and the length of this post.
1. Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi, 2012
I wrote a pretty detailed post about this book on my other, more chapter book related blog, so I won’t rehash it here. But, I really liked this one. I think the characterization is lovely and endearing. The illustrations are stunning and seriously jaw-dropping. I would have used this had I discovered it faster and gotten it more quickly from our library. I highly recommend this for pleasure and definitely for reading aloud with some kids.
2. The Dragons Are Singing Tonight poems by Jack Prelutsky, pictures by Peter Sis, 1993
I could not figure out how to work in this poetry, but I thought it was pretty brilliant and would have loved to figure that out. Maybe if I was an actual teacher. If anyone could write funny, clever, thought-provoking and enjoyable poetry about dragons, it would be Jack Prelutsky. And pairing it with Peter Sis’ lovely and slightly eery art is just a perfect combination in my opinion. So, if you ever need some dragon poetry, here it is folks.
3. Dragons at Crumbling Castle and Other Tales by Terry Pratchett, 2015
In all honestly, I skimmed the short stories I needed from this. Too many books on my to-read pile, and not enough time in my dragon cycle. This is a fairly recent publishing of Pratchett, but it is actually a compilation of some of his earlier, unpublished stories. Pratchett wrote a pretty humorous introduction to it all and about his younger writing self, that makes it even more worth picking up if you admired the man at all. The first story, which is the title, was the one I was looking for and I enjoyed it greatly, although I didn’t use it. Maybe next time I feel the need to read too much about dragons.
Have you had your fill of dragons yet? Yeah, me too. Don’t worry, I have so many posts coming up about so many different things… I think my head will explode if I don’t get them out to you soon. Thanks for checking out my dragon stash. Happy reading!