Friday, October 29, 2010

Guy Friday-- Dragons!

Over the years, I've had a number of students who wanted to read nothing but books about dragons. They usually had a matching wardrobe of dragon shirts and a bright future in the world of Dungeons and Dragons, and as a result, I have a nice collection of dragon books.

Crum, Shutta. Thomas and the Dragon Queen.
Nominated for the Cybils by Greg Leitich Smith

Though smaller than most boys his age, Thomas has a busy life, helping with his large family of siblings while his more talented brother helps with his father's leather working. After a chance encounter with a knight and his runaway horse, Thomas is taken to the palace to train to be a squire because all the able bodied men in the kingdom are off protecting the borders. There, he distinguishes himself as a hard worker, befriends the Princess Eleanor, and is knighted in due time. His first quest is to help slay a sea monster, which he manages to do despite his small size. He loses his leather vest and is saved by a dolphin, and manages to reconnect with Eleanor, who is working as a nurse for the many children of the dragon queen. This sort of work is familiar to Thomas, he excels at it, and the dragon queen is grateful to his entire kingdom.

Strengths: Fast paced medieval tale with good details of the training of knights. Well-developed characters.

Weaknesses: This book skews very young. The pictures are unfortunately cartoonish. The audience who likes dragon tales tends to be composed of strong readers (think how difficult Brian Jacques' writing is to read!) , and the writing is very simple. Looking at the other books on the dragon list, I can't see any middle schoolers picking this one up. It's just too gentle.

Here's a list of some of the dragon titles I've found:

Barron, T.A. Merlin's Dragon. (2008)
Carey, Janet Lee. Dragon's Keep (2007)
Combs, Kate. The Runaway Dragon (2009) (Thanks, Kate!)
Coville, Bruce. The Dragonslayers (1994)
Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon (2004)
D'Lacey, Chris. The Fire Within (2001)
Downer, Ann. Hatching Magic (2003)
Fletcher, Charlie. Stoneheart (2006)
Fletcher, Susan. Dragon's Milk (1989)
Funke, Cornelia. Dragonrider (2004)
Gannet, Ruth Stile. My Father's Dragon.
Koller, Jacquie French. Dragonling (1995)
George, Jessica Day. Dragon Slippers (2007)
Nesbit, E. The Book of Dragons (1900)
Owens, James. Here There Be Dragons. ( 2006)
Paolini, Christopher. Eragon. (2003)
Steer, Dugald. The Dragon's Eye (2006)
Stroud, Jonathan. Buried Fire (2004)
Wrede, Patricia. Dealing with Dragons (1990)
McCaffrey, Ann. Dragonsinger (1977)
Yolen, Jane. Dragon's Blood (1982)




Have a fire breathing weekend!

2 comments:

Kate Coombs said...

Um, there's my book, too (she says awkwardly): The Runaway Dragon.

Jennifer said...

Yeah, I always recommend Dragon Slippers and Runaway Dragon together! They are book buddies!

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