Book Reviews by Students Studying Dragon Lore and Literature
Professor: Dr. Tina L. Hanlon
The Book of Dragons. Selected and Illustrated by Michael Hague. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1995.
In a breathtaking selection of dragon stories and poems, this bestiary takes the reader on a magical journey from ancient China to modern-day England. Also included are excerpts from novels by C. S. Lewis, Italo Calvino, and J. R. R. Tolkien. There are many female-empowering as well as the more classic plots compiled in this satisfying collection.
A feat as fantastic as the dragon itself, the artwork and rich color conveys the story as well as the text. I would suggest this to anyone who enjoys any kind of dragon story.
Reviewed by Maura Z.
Brisingr by Christopher Paolini. New York: Alfred a Knopf, 2008. See below for review of Eldest.
The book Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini, should not be overlooked. Paolini's world of Alagaesia, which is the setting of the first two books in the series, is a mystical world where dragons and their riders once lived until overthrown by one of their own. Now Eragon and Saphira are the last free dragon and dragon rider in existence.
This existence forces them to learn skills quickly and attempt to take the evil king down. This is hard because human and dragon minds are different. Paolini shows us a glimpse of Saphira's mind in one chapter, showing her true dragon nature.
I would recommend this book for people that have read the first two books. Also the language can be confusing in some parts. The index and glossary are a great help. The book is not all about dragons. It is more about their relationship with humans and elves and dwarves. So pick it up. You won't regret it.
Reviewed by Claire P.
The Discovery of Dragons: New Research Revealed by Graeme Base. New York: Abrams, 2007.
The Discovery of Dragons is a book that follows the adventures of different characters, while introducing different types of dragons as the stories move on. Graeme Base uses comical aspects to keep the reader entertained by the people in the story, but provides interesting facts and illustrations on each page to describe the different dragons in the book.
I enjoyed reading this book because it is not the same things over and over. Base creates creatures that look fearsome, noble, friendly, or absurd. You can laugh at the adventures that happen throughout the story, or you can marvel at the fascinating illustration. Children, however, may have some trouble reading The Discovery of Dragons due to the changing setting and sometimes difficult language.
I would recommend this book to any fan of dragon literature. I believe Graeme Base's The Discovery of Dragons is worthy of a four-star rating.
Reviewed by Jack W.
Dragon by Jody Bergsma. Bellevue, WA: Illumination Arts, 1999.
To me Dragon is an interesting book. It is about a young and timid prince named Langilar, and a vicious dragon named Saras. There are problems in both of their lives; for instance, Langilar (to the people) is too timid to be king, and Saras is too cruel to the other dragons, so he is banished. They both set out to solve their problems and eventually clash in battle, but in the end they both win in a way not expected. To find out how it ends you will have to read the book yourself.
Dr. Ernest Drake's Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons by Dugald A. Steer. Illus. Wayne Anderson, Douglas Carrel, and Helen Ward. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2003.
I would give this book a three out of five-star rating. It wasn't the greatest book I've ever read yet it was a good book. It is for that reason that I recommend this book for all readers of all ages. Although I recommend it to all readers, I think that young children would love the pictures and images. So to all who read this, please read Jody Bergsma's Dragon.
Reviewed by Dalton A.
Dragon is about a prince named Langilor and a dragon named Saras. Both the prince and the dragon find themselves stuck in a bad situation, but, soon work it out.
The author and illustrator, Jody Bergsma, does an excellent job of wording and painting the story. This story was published in 1999 by Illumination Arts.
This book is full of adventure but I wish the story was longer.
Reviewed by Addison D.
This book tells all about dragons, what kinds of them, their size, and other stuff.
Dragonology is a very detailed book with colorful drawings. However, in this book there is something that could use more explanation. For example, instead of just putting down pictures of gems that dragons like, they could put down information like which ones is their favorite, what gems do dragons avoid?
This is a fictional book. I would recommend this book to dragon lovers.
Reviewed by Adam O.
The Egg by M P. Robertson. New York: Puffin, 2000.
The Egg is a story about George, a young and optimistic child, who finds a gigantic egg in his mother's henhouse. He brings the egg to his bedroom. From there he keeps the egg warm and reads it stories. The egg hatches three nights later and out comes...A Dragon!!! George then raises and teaches the dragon. The dragon learns from George how to fly, breathe fire, distress a damsel, and defeat a knight. Something seems to bother the dragon, but what? Read The Egg to find out.
On a scale of one to five, this book gets a four. Everything in the story is great, but the ending is cut short. The illustrations are very accurate as you read the story. I feel that the story needs to say exactly how the egg gets in a henhouse. Still this is a great and fun fantasy book.
Reviewed by Jonathan S.
Eldest by Christopher Paolini. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.
Eldest is a great book which combines fun and excitement in a creative way. It tells about a young farm boy who finds a dragon egg. It hatches, and together they have to defeat the evil king Galbatorix.
Eldest is the second book in the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini. It's one of the best series I have ever read. Eldest is the sequel to Eragon and is followed by Brisinger. (See above for a review of Brisingr.)
I would suggest this book to anyone who loves adventure, the underdog winning, and most of all, dragons.
Reviewed by Kyla D.
Everybody Knows What a Dragon Looks Like by Jay Williams. Illus. Mercer Mayer. Macmillan, 1979.
Everybody Knows What a Dragon Looks Like is an entertaining short story about a little fat man who claims that he is a dragon, coming to the city of Wu, to save them from The Wild Horseman. For him to save them they must be nice to him and give him food and drink. It is written by Jay Williams, illustrated by Mercer Mayer.
I recommend this story because it has an interesting illustrating style that shows much detail in one scene. The storyline is good (if a bit predictable). Overall, I give this story four out of five stars.
Reviewed by Anderson L.
"Great-Grandfather Dragon's Tale." Here There Be Dragons by Jane Yolen. Illus. David Wilgus. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1993.
"Great-Grandfather Dragon's Tale" is a story in the book Here There Be Dragons by Jane Yolen. The story starts as a grandfather dragon telling his grandchildren a story of dragon Thanksgiving. He tells them about great-grandfather dragon ruling the world. But man came and he could hunt birds and lions and other fierce animals. So Great-Grandfather dragon captures one and learns his language. The mans name is George. The dragon and George grow close, until George must return to his own kind. He promises to make peace between dragons and man someday. George returns, and agrees that dragons will not exist to man and man will not exist to dragons. They will avoid each other. He became known as St. George. I recommend this story because in all the stories of St. George this one is different and peaceful.
Reviewed by Maddy N.
Merlin and the Dragons by Jane Yolen. Illus. Li Ming. New York: Dutton/Cobblehill, 1995.
The book Merlin and the Dragons by Jane Yolen is mainly about Merlin telling young King Arthur about his childhood. Merlin has dreams as a child and as he learns about the world around him he eventually uses his dreams to predict the future/fall of an evil warrior named Vortigern.
The best part of this book is probably the illustrations. There is a picture of two dragons fighting that is especially well-drawn. The plot is awesome because it is so exciting the entire way through. Occasionally the story gets a little redundant but you hardly notice it.
I would recommend this book to most people. Most young children would probably enjoy the illustrations while older children and adults might enjoy the plot. I believe this book is great because of the thrilling storyline, excellent pictures, and the fact that readers of all ages will most likely enjoy it.
Reviewed by Ben D.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. Illus. Michael Martchenko. New York: Annick Pr, 1980.
The Paper Bag Princess is a satiric story about a Princess who has to save a Prince from a dragon who had destroyed her castle and burned her clothes. All she can find to wear, that isn't burnt, is a paper bag.
I would recommend this book to boys and girls of all ages. It is exciting and has an interesting twist where the Princess has to save the Prince. Also the Princess has to use her intelligence to get past the dragon instead of just stabbing it like a prince would. I really enjoy this story because it shows that girls are just as capable as boys.
Reviewed by Morgan G.
The book The Paper Bag Princess is a spectacular story. The princess Elizabeth had everything going right in her life. She had beautiful clothes, a wonderful fiance, until the dragon comes and burns everything, but took her fiance, prince Ronald. Elizabeth is desperate, so she put a large paper bag on and used it as her dress. Then she's off to save Prince Ronald. How? If you read the book you'll find out!
This book is four out of five stars. It is an amazing book that shows that if you try, you can succeed. The book would be good to read if you're looking for a funny children's book, but the book can be enjoyed by all ages!
The illustrations in this book are very cute! They are detailed, but are funny. They show the perfect amount of character and really shows who the character is. I believe the dragon is my favorite drawing because the silliness of him.
Reviewed byLindsay S.
Pillage by Obert Skye. Salt Lake City, Utah: Shadow Mountain, 2008.
Pillage is about a troubled 15-year-old named Beck Phillips who, to say the least, has had more than his share of bad luck. His entire life had been miserable due mostly to his father leaving him and his mother when he was only a baby. Because of this, his mother was driven to depression and insanity. But one day, as Beck is pulling a prank at school, the principal finds him and tells Beck that his mother is dead.
In a few days Beck is sent to live with his mysterious uncle in a small mountain town called Kingsplot. Here he learns many things about himself, his uncle, and a deadly family secret; that he comes from a long line of dragon hatchers.
Pillage is a very interesting book with plot twists that will compel you to keep reading and mysteries that will keep you guessing. It is also very descriptive and I would recommend it to any readers, especially those who enjoy fantasies.
Reviewed by Johnny W.
"Thoughts of a Drought Dragon" by Geraldine McCaughrean. Fire and Wings: Dragon Tales from East and West. Ed. Marianne Carus. Illus. Nilesh Mistry. Chicago: Cricket Books, 2002.
"Thoughts of a Drought Dragon" is an interesting tale of storm dragons in the Asian culture. The story is placed in a small village near the Yehgee River. One summer a drought occurred. The belief of the small village is that rain clouds are formed by the breath of a storm dragon. Therefore, the villagers concluded to make a dragon out of materials around them. Each summer night the villagers danced around the village with the dragon. The smallest dancer was named Haoyou who made the dragon's head dance.
After many dances, still no rain came. The village elders discussed to burn the dragon so the smoke cloud would rise and form rain. While they were discussing, Haoyou took a nap in the dragon's head.
When the dragon heard of the elders' plans for him, he was enraged and decided to burn the dragon. When the dragon aroused, Haoyou woke and tried to stop the dragon from destroying the village. He tried to convince the dragon that since the villagers made his soul from a nightingale and that he should be able to fly since he is now a dragon. The dragon tries and tries to fly, but he was unsuccessful. Haoyou put out the idea that maybe if he launched himself off the cliff, he could become airborne. This way the dragon would crouch and be destroyed and it wouldn't destroy the village. The dragon does not try. Haoyou then says that if the dragon could use his bird magic and sing to fly. When the dragon tweets, the storm dragons hear him and bring rain to the village.
Overall, I thought it was a good story. I think people who enjoy the Asian culture and dragons will enjoy this story most.
By Brigid D.
Britt Hall 107 full of dragons, dragon lovers, and book lovers (some looking rather weary on the last day)
Last 4 photos by Kaleigh N., FCSEC camper - other photos by Tina Hanlon
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This page created 7/16/09. Last update: 5/21/10
Tina L. Hanlon