Dragons in Chapter Books for Children and Novels for Children and Young Adults

Tina L. Hanlon, Ph. D.
Ferrum College
thanlon@ferrum.edu

Modern Dragon Stories

Retellings of Ancient Dragon Stories

Dragon Episodes in Other Fantasy Novels

There are many more old and new novels about dragons that are not listed here. If you would like to contribute suggestions or annotated citations (for which you will receive credit on this web page), please send them to Tina Hanlon.

See also:
Poems about Dragons
Dragons in Picture Books
Dragons in Literature Collections
Background Resources
Dragons in Harry Potter Books
Dragons Home and Links

Retellings of Ancient Dragon Stories

See also Background Resources for books that summarize traditional dragon myths and legends.

Katz, Welwyn Wilton. Beowulf.  Groundwood, 1999. This original adaptation by a Canadian author focuses on the character of young Wiglaf, the warrior who did not defeat Beowulf in his final battle with the dragon. Wiglaf's grandfather tells him the earlier events in Beowulf's career.Hercules cover

McCaughrean, Geraldine. Hercules. Chicago, Ill: Cricket Books, 2005. "Readers learn about Hercules, the human with superhuman strength, born of a mortal and the king of gods, Zeus. When the goddess Hera, wife of Zeus, discovers her husband's mortal son Hercules, she vows to destroy him. Thus begins Hercules' legendary and epic journey in which he is forced to take on a series of seemingly impossible tasks. He battles an array of both amazing and terrifying beasts, including the mighty Cretan Bull, the many-headed Hydra, the ferocious Nemean Lion, and the three-headed guardian of hell, Cerberus. With the help of the gods Athena and Apollo, can Hercules triumph in the end? McCaughrean's striking descriptions and taut prose draws even the most reluctant young readers into the fray" (Worldcat).

Marshall, H. E. Stories of Beowulf Told to the Children. Illus. J. R. Skelton. (London: Thomas Nelson and Sons), 1908. Chapter VIII. "How the Fire Dragon Warred with the Goth Folk." Chapter IX. "How Beowulf Overcame the Dragon." Reprinted in The Baldwin Online Children's Literature Project. Three color illustrations in these two chapters.Beowulf cover

Morpurgo, Michael. Beowulf. Illus. Michael Foreman. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006. 92 pp. Cover at left.

Nye, Robert. Beowulf: A New Telling. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell, 1968. 103 pp. Nye calls this an interpretation for children, not a literal translation. He stresses the importance of myth for children, calling Beowulf "an essential story, and therefore never to be fixed" ("Note").

Riordan, James. Jason and the Golden Fleece. Illus. Jason Cockcroft. London: Frances Lincoln, 2003. 61 pp.

Riordan, James. The Twelve Labors of Hercules. Illus. Christina Balit. Millbrook, 1997. Slaying the many-headed Hydra is the second labor of the classical hero.

Sutcliff, Rosemary. Beowulf. Illus. Charles Keeping. Peter Smith, 1984. An English author of many legendary and historical novels for children retells the Old English epic about a hero who defeats the monster Grendel and his mother. Much later, in the final battle that ends his life, Beowulf slays a dragon that has been hoarding treasure underground and terrorizing Beowulf’s kingdom.

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Abbott, Tony. Moon Magic. Secrets of Droon. New York: Scholastic, 2008. 165 pp. Salamandra has sent Eric, Julie, Neal and Keeah through her Portal of Ages. The kids are on a quest to the past and the future to save Droon. Unfortunately, Gethwing, the infamous Moon Dragon, has disappeared into the Portal, as well" (Worldcat).

Adler, C. S. Eddie's Blue-Winged Dragon. New York: Avon Camelot, 1990.

Now in sixth grade, Eddie has struggled for several years to overcome physical problems caused by cerebral palsy and fit into his mainstream school. His best friend, Gary, has a mean, widowed father who owns an antique store, The Treasure Shop. Trying to find a birthday present for his sister, Eddie acquires a beautiful dragon figurine from the shop, and through much of the novel he tries not to believe growing evidence that the dragon comes alive. It helps resolve problems with the school bully, Darrin; a hostile teacher; and Gary's father. Although the dragon likes to snuggle up to Eddie at night, they never interact in a friendly reciprocal relationship as in Coville's Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher or other stories of children and tame dragons. A writing contest about books helps Gary develop greater confidence and independence, as he realizes he needs to control his temper and avoid the violent kinds of revenge the dragon can enact.

Anthony, Piers. Dragon on a Pedestal. New York: Ballantine Books, 1983. "With a dragon rampaging across the kingdom and mass amnesia sweeping the populace, the last thing that the new king and his queen need to be worrying about is their missing 3-year-old daughter who is, naturally, directly in the path of disaster. This is the seventh Xanth novel."

Avanti, Michele. GreeHee: The Journey of Five. Tales of Tamoor, #1. Myrtle Creek, OR: GreeHee Pub., 2008. "An adolescent dragon discovers self-worth when fate and the unlikely friendship of a fairy guide him to fulfill an ancient prophecy" (Worldcat).

Baker, E. D. Dragon's Breath. Book 2 of The Tales of a Frog Princess series. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2003. 292 pp. "Having recovered their human shape, Emeralda and Eadric try to help Aunt Grassina find the special objects needed to break the spell that turned Grassina's true love, Haywood, into an otter." Sequel to The Frog Princess. Cataloged as a humorous story.

Baker, E. D. The Dragon Princess. Book 6 of The Tales of a Frog Princess series. New York: Bloomsbury, 2008. "Although a princess, Millie cannot keep herself from turning unexpectedly into a dragon, so she ventures off to the Frozen North to find the Blue Witch, who she hopes will help her learn to control her dragon magic."

Bateson-Hill, Margaret. Dragon Racer. London: Catnip, 2008. "Ever wonder what it would be like to ride a racing dragon?" (on cover).

Baynton, Martin. Jane and the Dragon series. Associated with CGI animated television series about a medieval girl who would rather train to be a knight than a lady-in-waiting. Her best friend is a 300-year-old fire-breathing dragon. Created by Nelvana and WETA. Nelvana is a Canadian animation company. The web site says they tried to create the look of characters who stepped out of a children's book, and Baynton, a British author who lives in New Zealand, wrote the first book in the late 1980s..

A Dragon's Tail. New York: Random House, 2008. 96 pp. "Everyone at the castle is busy preparing for the summer carnival—except for Jane. She has an appointment to keep—with her friend the dragon. It seems the dragon has lost his purpose: he no longer scares people, and this makes him very unhappy. Can Jane help him solve this fearsome predicament?" (publisher description) .

 Jane and the Dragon. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1988. 32 pp. "Jane longs to be a knight, but everyone laughs at her. Everyone, that is, except the court jester, who lends her a small suit of armor to help make her dream come true. And when an enormous dragon swoops in and steals the prince, Jane quickly gets the chance to prove herself!" (publisher description)

 Jane and the Magician. New York: Random House, 2007. 32 pp. "The king is giving a party to cheer up the prince, so he sends Jane and her friend the dragon to find his missing magician. But what they find is a problem — a very wet and watery problem. Will the prince’s party be a washout? Or can Jane find a magical solution?" (publisher description)

Three's a Crowd. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2008. 96 pp. "What’s so funny about playing dung wars? What’s so side-splitting about armpit farts? Jane just doesn’t get it. But Dragon and Gunther, Jane’s fellow knight-in training, think it’s all hilarious and are fast becoming the best of friends. Maybe it’s time for Jane to ask Jester to give her a crash course on crass humor!" (book description)

Beagle, Peter S. I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons. New York: Firebird Books, 2007. 224 pp. "Dragons are common in the back water kingdom of bellemontagne, coming in sizes from mouse-like vermin all the way up to castle-smashing monsters. gaius Aurelius Constantine Heliogabalus thrax (who would much rather people just call him robert) has recently inherited his deceased dad’s job as a dragon catcher/exterminator, a career he detests with all his heart — in part because he likes dragons, feeling an odd kinship with them, but mainly because his dream has always been the impossible one of transcending his humble origin to someday become a prince’s valet. Needless to say, fate has something rather different in mind . . . " (book description).

Beastly Boys. Werewolf Versus Dragon. An Awfully Beastly Business, 1. London: Simon & Schuster Children's, 2008. 192 pp.

Bowring, Sam. Sir Joshua and the Unprofessional Dragon. Illus. Nina Rycroft. Mascot, NSW: Koala Books, 1999. 64 pp. "When commanded to destroy a dragon, Sir Joshua sets off at once. But this is no ordinary dragon. Although he can shoot red hot flames from his nostrils and crush opponents with one swipe of his claw, he prefers the quiet life. What tricks can a dragon play to get rid of a pesky knight who insists on slaying him?" (Worldcat).

Bradshaw, Gillian. The Dragon and the Thief.  New York: Greenwillow, 1991. Fantasy-adventure set in Egypt; young Prahotep finds Hathor, last of the dragons.

Calder, David. The Dragonslayer's Apprentice. New York: Scholastic, 1997.

A teenage girl has persuaded a professional Dragonslayer to take her as his new apprentice. Jackie thinks she is hiding her identity as a bored runaway princess. She learns the methods and rules of the Dragonslayers' Guild as they travel from place to place in the United Kingdoms, taking increasingly dangerous commissions and disposing of different types of dragons in various ways as they deal with fearful, pompous and foolhardy citizens. Ron is the perceptive and skilled assistant who hardly ever talks. They have trouble convincing people that dragons do not really breathe fire, although they do have a black vapor that looks like smoke. Jackie uses a psychological ploy to complete their last job of chasing away a woman who believes she has a witch's powers. With wry humor the story undercuts belief in magic and some traditional folklore, as well as mocking bureaucrats and patriarchies. It also shows the independent princess developing her own talents as she becomes qualified to be certified as the first female Dragonslayer, winning the admiration of her employer and father.

Carey, Janet Lee. Dragon's Keep. Orlando: Harcourt, 2007." In 1145 A.D., as foretold by Merlin, fourteen-year-old Rosalind, who will be the twenty-first Pendragon Queen of Wilde Island, has much to accomplish to fulfill her destiny, while hiding from her people the dragon's claw she was born with that reflects only one of her mother's dark secrets."

Chessell, C. C. Uncle Edward and the Egg. Dublin: Poolbeg For Children, 2000. 181 pp.

Counsel, June.  A Dragon in Class 4.  London:  Faber and Faber, 1984.  With B/W drawings by Jill Bennett.

Ten chapters tell how Scales, a small dragon, helps an English schoolboy and his classmates through the term until Christmas.  Scales prompts Sam on a spelling test, punishes bullies and cheats, helps the children draw a wall painting of him, tells colorful stories, consoles weeping girls with a broken doll and irate grandmother, takes the children through a television to visit his mother and aunt in their cave, and insists on being included in Christmas traditions.  The teacher, Miss Green, is kind enough, but she manages not to see Scales and plays along with her belief that he is make-believe dragon staying in the cave they built as a class project.  Chapter 3 on the wall painting is reprinted in Margaret Clark, ed. A Treasury of Dragon Stories, 1997. See more discussion in essay on Secret Dragons in School.

Coville, Bruce. Dragon of Doom.  Illus. Katherine Coville. New York: Simon and Schuster's, 2003.

First in the Moongobble and Me series, a humorous trilogy of three short fantasy novels. A boy has to face the Dragon of Doom after becoming apprentice to a bumbling wizard, Moongobble. The others in the trilogy are The Weeping Werewolf and The Evil Elves, 2004.

Coville, Bruce. The Dragonslayers. Illus. Katherine Coville. Aladdin, 1994.

A young page, a willful princess (Willie) and an old squire face a fierce dragon. It's the first dragon seen in many years and the king's weak collection of knights is not up for the challenge. Humor and adventure are blended in this story of unlikely heroes who join forces and use their wits to defeat the dragon.

Coville, Bruce.  Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher.  Magic Shop series. New York:  Pocket Books, 1991. Also available as audio recording.

Ancient dragon magic enters a contemporary setting in mysterious and humorous ways when an artistic sixth-grade boy raises a dragon after hatching it. The bond between them helps Jeremy cope with difficult emotions as the dragon’s departure for her home in another world marks the end of his childhood. See more discussion in essay on Secret Dragons in School.

Cowell, Cressida. A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons. Hiccup series. London: Hodder Children's, 2007. "Translated from the Old Norse [i.e. written] by Cressida Crowell."

Cowell, Cressida. How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. New York: Little, Brown, 2006. 244 pp. "Reluctant hero Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III must rescue his best friend, Fishlegs, from the deadly disease Vorpentitis. The only cure is rare and almost impossible to find ... a potato. But where will Hiccup find such a thing?"

Cowell, Cressida. How to Train Your Dragon. New York: Little, Brown, 2004. 214 pp. "Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon."

Cowell, Cressida. How to Twist a Dragon's Tale: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup the Viking. New York: Little, Brown, 2008. 246 pp. "Someone has stolen the Fire Egg. Now the volcano on Volcano Island is active and the tremors are hatching the eggs of the exterminator dragons! Can Hiccup return the Fire Egg to the volcano, stop the volcano from erupting, and save the Tribes from being wiped out by the terrible sword-claws of the Exterminators" (Worldcat).

Dadey, Debbie, and Marcia Thornton Jones. Dragons Don't Cook Pizza. Little Apple paperback. Advenures of the Bailey School Kids 24. Illus. John Steven Gurney. New York: Scholastic, 1996. 58 pp. "The Bailey School kids believe that the new pizza place, with its medieval theme and a man dressed as a knight, has a fire-breathing dragon as its cook."

Dadey, Debbie, and Marcia Thornton Jones. Dragons Don't Throw Snowballs. Little Apple paperback. Advenures of the Bailey School Kids 51. Illus. John Steven Gurney. New York: Scholastic, 2006. 75 pp. "The Bailey School kids investigate to see if a mad scientist can turn a snow sculpture into a real dragon."Last Dragon cover

De Mari, Silvana. The Last Dragon. New York: Miramax/Hyperion, 2004. Translated from Italian by Shaun Whiteside. 361 pp. (Warning: mild spoilers in this summary of the first section of the novel.) A woman, male hunter, young elf, and dogall unlikely heroesfind themselves together on a quest that follows an ancient prophecy. In a Dark Age in their society, excessive rain, floods and famine have devastated many places and increased hostilities among different kinds of beings. Elves are outcasts among humans but this orphaned elf lost his grandmother when the camp in which elves were confined flooded. There is humor in long names and misunderstandings among the elf and humans, as well as the dragon, troll and other humans they meet. The naive little elf has magical powers and knowledge of reading that the humans lack, and his mental state has various kinds of effects on simple and complex brains of others, so that he gets himself and his companions into and out of trouble in unexpected ways. They find an old dragon living in a volcano with an ancient library, which Yorsh the elf reads when he stays with the old dragon.

DiTerlizzi, Tony. Kenny & the Dragon. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2008. "Book-loving Kenny the rabbit has few friends in his farming community, so when one, bookstore owner George, is sent to kill another, gentle dragon Grahame, Kenny must find a way to prevent their battle while satisfying the dragon-crazed townspeople" (Worldcat). This story plays off of Kenneth Grahame's "The Reluctant Dragon." Reviews and illustrations at The Children's Book Review: Growing Readers.

D'Lacey, Chris. Fire Star Series.

The Fire Within. New York: Orchard, 2005. 352 pp. "When David moves in with Liz and Lucy, he discovers a collection of hand crafted, clay dragons that comes to life and has magical powers. David's personalized dragon, Gadzooks, can forecast the future, and inspires him to write a story which reveals the truth behind an unsolved mystery close to home. The story has an unhappy ending, and when David realizes the consequences of it he is angry. Then David finds Gadzooks crying and near death, and he discovers that these special dragons die when they are not loved. Soon David is forced to save his friend and unlock the powers of the fire within" (product description).

Icefire. Orchard, 2006. 432 pp. "When David is assigned an essay on the history of dragons, there is only one thing he knows for sure—he wants to win the prize of a research trip to the Arctic. As David begins to dig deeper into the past, he finds himself drawn down a path from which there is no going back . . . to the very heart of the legend of dragons, and the mysterious, ancient secret of the icefire. . . ." (book description).

Fire Star. London: Orchard, 2005. 560 pp. "In the thrilling third book in Chris d'Lacey's popular series, David Rain is faced with a perilous task. ICEFIRE's evil sibyl Gwilanna is back, this time determined to resurrect the dragon Gawain on the ice cap of the Tooth of Ragnar. Can David and his friends stop her before it's too late?" (book description)

The Fire Eternal. Orchard, 2007. As the weather grows wilder and the ice caps melt, Arctic bears starve, dragons awake, the earth goddess Gaia becomes restless, and Alexa, the daughter of best-selling author David Rain, uses her special abilities in an attempt to save the world from the forces of evil.

D'Lacey, Chris. Gauge. The Dragons of Wayward Crescent, 2. London: Orchard, 2008.

Downer, Ann. The Dragon of Never-Was. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006. "With the help of a bottle of blue fire and a magical brooch, Theodora searches for a dragon on an island off the coast of Scotland before it causes any harm." The sequel to Hatching Magic begins in a wizard school where a student uses forbidden spells and gets into dangerous trouble.

Downer, Ann. Hatching Magic. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2003. "When a thirteenth-century wizard confronts twenty-first century Boston while seeking his pet dragon, he is followed by a rival wizard and a very unhappy demon, but eleven-year-old Theodora Oglethorpe may hold the secret to setting everything right." Gideon's dragon is a wyvern named Wycca, who escapes "through a magic hole in time in search of a place to lay her eggs."

Drake, Salamanda. Dragonsdale. Illus. Gilly Marklew. New York: Chicken House/Scholastic, 2007. 269 pp. "Cara yearns to ride her beloved Skydancer, a rare Goldenbrow dragon, but her father refuses to permit her to fly and she must be content with mucking out stalls and helping raise young dragons at the famed stud and training farm known as Dragonsdale."

Drake, Salamanda. Riding the Storm. Illus. Gilly Marklew. New York: Scholastic, 2008. 301 pp. "Breena's determination to secure a position with the guard flight by qualifying for the Island Championship pits her against her best friend, Cara, and damages the Trustbond she has with her dragon, Moonflight" (Worldcat).

French, Vivian. Draglins in Danger. Draglins. Illus. Chris Fisher. London: Orchard, 2007. "Charming Borrowers-style stories about mini-dragons who move from their home in the attic to the great Outdoors. Wowling has been heard near the draglins' home in Under Shed! Daffodil, Dora, Dennis and Danny come face to face with a scary chat for the first time ever–are four little draglins a match for terrible teeth and sharp claws?" (book description). Also Draglins Escape! 2007.

Funke, Cornelia. Dragon Rider. Trans. Anthea Bell. New York: Scholastic, 2004. 

Publisher's description: "When their peaceful valley is threatened with danger, Firedrake, a silver-skinned dragon, and his sidekick, Sorrel, set off to find the mythical Rim of Heaven—the only place in the world where dragons can be safe forever. Along the way they meet an orphaned boy named Ben who volunteers to be their navigator and quickly becomes their friend. But when they learn that an evil dragon hunter is on their trail, their quest quickly turns into a battle for survival. As the adventure draws to a breathtaking close, it soon becomes clear that one person's fate will decide the destiny of them all. Once again, master storyteller Cornelia Funke [from Germany] casts an enchanting spell, creating an exciting, heartwarming, and ultimately triumphant tale about the power of belief and the true meaning of home."

Gannett, Ruth Stiles. My Father’s Dragon, 1948.  Elmer and the Dragon.  The Dragons of Blueland, 1951.  Illus. Ruth Chrisman Gannett. New York: Knopf..

In My Father's Dragon (a Newbery Honor book), the narrator tells how her father Elmer, as a boy, befriended a stray cat and was whipped by his mother for feeding it in secret. When Elmer says he would like to fly away, the cat tells him about Wild Island, where a baby dragon, who fell off a cloud and injured his wing, is held captive and made to work for other animals. Elmer stows away on a ship. After a series of adventures, encountering hungry tigers and other fierce animals whom he outwits or bribes with lollipops and chewing gum, Elmer rescues the striped dragon and they fly away together.

In Elmer and the Dragon, the dragon helps Elmer Elevator get home to Nevergreen City, Popsicornia. The dragon can barely withstand a storm at sea, but he holds firm on a sand bar with Elmer on his back. Then they find they are at Feather Island, where there are fresh water, and skunk cabbages and ferns for the dragon to eat. Elmer meets a friendly canary that had escaped from his mother. Elmer and the dragon help the king of escaped canaries, Can XI, recover from his inherited sickness of severe curiosity about a family secret, by digging up a treasure chest that had been left by human settlers who never returned. The king, happy to be rich although he has no use for most of the contents, divides the six bags of gold with Elmer, who gives his to his father. They give a gold watch to the dragon, who can't tell time so he gives it to Elmer for his mother. The dragon flies Elmer home and then sneaks away, afraid of being captured by humans. He refuses all rewards except more pink lollipops from Elmer's supply. Elmer's parents are happy to see him after two weeks. His mother has set aside her dislike for animals and has taken in the alley cat from the first book.

The Dragons of Blueland depicts the dragon's return to his multi-colored family in the mountains of Blueland. Some cows help the dragon hide from their farmer, Mr. Wagonwheel, who had spotted him flying by. After he finds his family held captive by men in a cave, the dragon returns to get Elmer, who helps them escape. In this book the dragon tells how his kind had been misrepresented by knights of the past, who described gentle dragons as fierce to make themselves look brave. Some dragons had escaped in those old times to live in Blueland. At the end, Elmer's father reads newspaper reports of dragon sightings and asks Elmer about his strange trips away from home, but Elmer just says, "Why, Father, you don't mean you really believe all that nonsense, do you?" (p. 88).

In these popular books the dragon seems to represent animals who are held captive, abused or neglected, and forced to labor for adult humans. Both nine-year-old Elmer and the baby dragon desire freedom. In the many black and white lithographs, Elmer's striped shirt and the dragon's striped body (described as blue and yellow, with gold wings) link them as childhood friends sharing adventures that are both sentimental and whimsical. There are detailed maps in each book.

Garrison, Terie. SummerDanse. Woodbury, Minn: Flux, 2007. 233 pp. "On the cusp of an evil plot to overthrow the Kingdom of Alloway, fifteen-year-old Donavah finds herself a pawn in the hands of an evil mage. In the culmination of this imaginative saga of dragons, maejic, and time-defying lands, the girl who can communicate with dragons and animals is now fighting for herself, her family, and the rightful return of the Red Dragons. Held hostage, Donavah must be wary of whom to trust and whom to run from, as traitors, thuggish guardsmen, and a corrupted king are all working against the good of the land. Fearing for the life of the young man who once saved her from certain death, Donavah's spirit is crushed after she unknowingly led him into danger" (book description).

George, Jessica Day. Dragon Flight. New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books, 2008. 262 pp. Listed as adolescent fiction. "Young seamstress Creel finds herself strategizing with the dragon king Shardas once again when a renegade dragon in a distant country launches a war against their country, bringing an entire army of dragons into the mix" (Worldcat).

George, Jessica Day. Dragon Slippers. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2007. 324 pp. "Orphaned after a fever epidemic, Creel befriends a dragon and unknowingly inherits an object that can either save or destroy her kingdom."

Godden, Rumer. The Dragon of Og.  Illus. Pauline Baynes.  New York: Viking Press, 1981. A reclusive Scottish dragon is befriended by a lady whose stubborn lord causes a conflict with the dragon.

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Henham, R. D., and Rebecca Shelley. The Red Dragon Codex. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2008. "Mudd must seek a silver dragon's help to rescue Shemnara, an old woman who is practically his mother, when she is kidnapped by a red dragon" (Worldcat).

Jenkins, Jerry B., and Chris Fabry. The Author's Blood. Carol Stream, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008. 356 pp. Listed in Worldcat as pre-adolescent fiction. "Owen Reeder, the Wormling, faces a final battle with the Dragon, strengthened by his reading of The Book of the King and the knowledge that his friends and his very weakness can see him through his greatest challenge" (Worldcat).

Keller, Beverly. A Small, Elderly Dragon. Illus. Nola Langner Malone. New York: Morrow/Lothrop, 1984. An unconventional princess with glasses helps a small elderly dragon rescue a kingdom from a vengeful sorceress. This tongue-in-cheek story mocks the outdated traditions of monarchy and dragon legends. With black and white drawings.

Kingsley, Kaza. Erec Rex: The Dragon's Eye. Illus. Melvyn Grant. Cincinnati, OH: Firelight Press, 2006. Listed as pre-adolescent fiction. "Twelve-year-old Erec Rex stumbles upon a world where magic has not been forgotten, and must survive the ultimate test in order to save the magical kingdom he was born to rule" (Worldcat). Book 2 is Erec Rex: The Monsters of Otherness, 2007.

Klimo, Kate. The Dragon in the Driveway. Dragon Keepers #2. Illus. John Schroades. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2009. "Cousins Jesse and Daisy, along with their pet dragon, continue their battle against the evil scientist who has plans to destroy the forest in order to find the magical golden ax that is buried there."

Klimo, Kate. The Dragon in the Library. Dragon Keepers #3. Illus. John Schroades. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2010. "Dragon Keepers Jesse and Daisy, along with their dragon, Emmy, must save their friend Professor Andersson from an evil witch, who happens to be St. George the Dragon Slayer's girlfriend."

Klimo, Kate. The Dragon in the Sock Drawer. Dragon Keepers #1. Illus. John Schroades. New York: Random House Children's Books, 2008. 159 pp. "Cousins Jesse and Daisy always knew they would have a magical adventure, but they are not prepared when the 'thunder egg' Jesse has found turns out to be a dragon egg that is about to hatch."

Koller, Jackie French. The Dragonling Series. New York: Minstrel/Pocket Books. Published in two volumes in 2000-2001.

In The Dragonling, the boy Derek finds a hungry baby dragon and decides to help it. The sequels are A Dragon in the Family, Dragon Quest, Dragons of Krad, Dragon Trouble, Dragons and Kings. These short novels depict sympathetic dragons that are not the predatory carnivorous variety which led older people in Derek's world to hunt and kill dragons. Derek has a series of adventures with his human friends and Zantor the dragon.  See covers and details at Jack Koller's Web Site and Zantor's Web Site.

Korschunow, Irina. Adam Draws Himself a Dragon. 1978. Transl. James Skofield. New York: Harper and Row, 1986.

Adam and his dragon help each other with their learning problems and physical disadvantages during his first year of school. Like so many other magical helpers in folklore and fantasy, as well as realistic teachers and school friends, this dragon move on after certain phases of growth are completed, having established a relationship that strengthens the protagonists and transforms his life.

Krenshy, Stephen. The Dragon Circle. New York: Scholastic, 1977. A boy in a modern American magical family is held prisoner by dragons.

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Lake, A. J. The Circle of Stone. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2008. 295 pp. "In Great Britain during the Dark Ages, eleven-year-olds Edmund and Elspeth face the ancient god Loki one last time, at an ancient circle of stones that may be their last hope to defeat the terrible trickster" (Worldcat).

Luckett, Dave. The Girl, the Dragon, and the Wild Magic. Book One of the Rhianna Chronicles. New York: Scholastic, 2000. 118 pp. Australian title Rhianna and the Wild Magic. Reprinted in Stanton, Mary, Jane B. Mason, Sarah Hines-Stephens, and Dave Luckett. Fantasy Stories for Girls [Three Complete Novels]. New York: Scholastic, 2006. Rhianna has serious difficulty in school until it is discovered that she has a powerful kind of "wild magic" that most people in her world lack. Her magical power causes small and large problems in her village, even after she becomes an apprentice of the prominent wizard Magister Northstar. Bullies at school and a corrupt storekeeper cause complications as Rhianna and the wizard struggle with these problems. The story contains interesting exploration of the relationships among magic spells, human action, and the land, as well as attempts to confine the talents of an exceptional girl. An encounter with a fire-breathing dragon, which does some damage to the village and the wizard, is the climax of Rhianna's story.

McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonsong, 1976. Dragonsinger, 1977. Dragondrums, 1979. Atheneum. This is the young adult Harper Hall Trilogy.

See covers and short synopses of all McCaffrey's books at The Worlds of Anne McCaffrey. Some of the adult novels about Pern include Dragonflight, 1968. The White Dragon, 1978. Dragonquest, 1981. Moretta: Dragon Lady of Pern, 1983. Ballantine.

McCaffrey, who calls herself a science fiction writer, has written many stories about the planet of Pern (beginning with Dragonflight, 1968), where dragons and their riders protect the population by using dragon fire to destroy deadly burning spores that periodically fall from the sky (at times called Threadfall).  In the novel Dragonsong, the compelling first book in the young adult Harper Hall Trilogy, a talented young girl feels out of place in her society. After her mentor the old Harper dies, Menolly leads a lonely, dismal life in a conservative commune where her parents neglect her emotional needs and girls are not allowed to display musical talent or learn much about dragons. Although her people are not even sure that small fire lizards are real, Menolly's seaside wanderings lead her to save a clutch of wild fire lizard eggs from high tides. After running away from home, she lives in a cave caring for nine hungry hatchlings that “impress” on her at birth.  Still recovering from an injured hand that curtails her playing of instruments, Menolly is rescued from another crisis by a dragonrider.  In his friendly weyr (an old word for a dragon’s den), her body and mind begin to recover. She gains the admiration of the more open-minded weyr folk when they discover her fire lizards and musical talent. These people living in intimate contact with the dragons they nurture are more loving and exuberant than Menolly’s family. After witnessing a dramatic, ceremonial Hatching of dragon eggs, and tending precious fire lizard eggs for the weyr, Menolly is persuaded by the Masterharper in a moving final scene that she will be welcome when he takes her to live in the crafthall of Harpers. There she seeks greater fulfillment with musicians and dragons in the sequel Dragonsinger.

Dragonsinger, the second Harper Hall novel, depicts fifteen-year-old Menolly's first seven days at Harper Hall. Much of the novel is about her introduction to the lifestyle of the musicians and teachers who live there, and the harpers' assessment of her extraordinary abilities as singer, player and composer, but almost every aspect of her life is affected by her nine young fire lizards. They sleep with her, follow her everywhere, sing with humans, send her images from their minds (some of which they share with dragons far away), feel her emotions, and rush to her aid when she is frightened or insulted. Both the fire lizards and her unusual status as a female harper apprentice make her the subject of envy, fear, irritation and admiration from others. Her lack of confidence as a musician is offset by her unique knowledge of fire lizards. She helps Masterharper Robinton and another harper hatch two eggs they had brought back from Benden Weyr. The people of Pern are just beginning to understand the fire lizards and their kinship with more familiar and powerful dragons. Menolly's struggles to fit in climax at her first gather (fair), when the most spiteful and snobbish student girl insults her, Menolly gives in to her anger, and the fire lizards' attempts to defend her result in a disastrous brawl, which is quelled and settled fairly by the older masters. Menolly's confidence grows when the public audience at the gather loves her singing, she is named a journeyman harper because of her advanced skills, and a dragonrider brings her new boots that mark the healing of her injured feet, as well as her spirit that had been injured by prejudice and humiliation in her home. Just as the Masterharper plans to promote wider knowledge and tolerance by getting different regions of Pern to share their music, it appears that more people will bond with fire lizards in the future. Piemur, a lively younger boy who befriends Menolly from the beginning and hopes to have a fire lizard in future, is the focus of the third book.

In Dragondrums, Menolly and her developing relationship with the master Sebell move to the background of Piemur's story. When his extraordinary boy soprano voice breaks, Piemur, 14, is sent to learn how to play the important drums that send long-distance messages. He learns quickly and is sent on special missions by the Masterharper, making him the victim of cruel jokes by the envious other drum apprentices. The book's climactic adventure involves political conflicts among the banished Oldtimers and Pern holds, especially one in which an old, corrupt Lord Holder is dying. This southern hold has been mysteriously acquiring an overabundance of fire lizards, many of which turn out to be inferior greens that are easily acquired on beaches. Sent as a spy, Piemur goes beyond the call of duty, sneaking into the holder's hall and stealing a queen fire lizard egg. The clever and inquisitive boy has been anxious to acquire a fire lizard earlier than his masters at the Harpercraft Hall deem appropriate. Escaping into the countryside, Piemur impresses the hatching queen, names her Farli, and hides in the seaside forests for a time. Like Menolly in the first book, Piemur survives his rite of passage in isolation, learning to feed himself and his animal companions (including a wounded young beast he rescues). He escapes several Threadfalls before meeting a girl with two fire lizards who is gathering medicinal plants in the rough countryside. When Menolly and Sebell travel by boat to find Piemur, there is a scene of mating for both the humans and their fire lizards, Menolly's Diver and Sebell's queen Kimi. Reunited with his friends, Piemur is appointed drummer in the southern hold where he has found a new home.

McCaffrey, Anne. A Gift of Dragons. New York: Ballantine Books, 2002. Reprints three dragon stories from the Pern series: "The Smallest Dragonboy," The Girl who Heard Dragons," and "Runner of Pern," and one new story, "Ever the Twain."

McAllister, Angela. Digory the Dragon Slayer. Bloomsbury Chapter Books. Illus. Ian Beck. New York: Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2006. 123 pp. "Digory, a gentle boy who likes to spend time alone in the forest and make up songs to sing, accidentally becomes a knight and reluctantly sets off to rescue damsels in distress, slay dragons, and marry a princess."

McKinley, Robin. The Hero and the Crown. 1984. The Blue Sword. 1982. Greenwillow.
Description and book cover at Nancy Keane's Booktalks—Quick and Simple
"Official" Web Site on Robin McKinley
Robin McKinley's own web site

In The Hero and the Crown (set generations after The Blue Sword), the heroine’s unrecognized talents are not artistic (like McCaffrey's Menolly), but they are magical and majestic. A teenage princess endures increasingly grueling trials that take her and her beloved horse on a solitary quest across the borders of mortality and immortality, love and hatred.  Aerin secretly learns to fight small dragons, after painstakingly perfecting an ancient recipe for an ointment that resists dragon flame. Then a legendary, gigantic black dragon threatens the rural population.  Surprisingly, Aerin kills this fiercest of dragons in the middle of the novel but does not rid her mind or her kingdom from its evil influence until the end.  After defeating an even more terrifying wicked opponent linked to her own family and identity, she recovers her ancestors’ lost crown just in time to save the kingdom from a long siege and prove that she is worthy to become queen.  This powerful Newbery-Medal-winning novel is not only a modern fantasy about the psychic journey of a young woman, but, like ancient epics and myths, it depicts an extraordinary hero mysteriously linked to the dragons she conquers in physically and emotionally demanding battles that determine the fate of a whole people.

Manning, Rosemary. Green Smoke. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Penguin, 1957. 

First in a series of three British books about the child Sue and her friend R. Dragon, whom she meets in Cornwall. The eccentric but affectionate 1500-year old dragon takes her on flights to Tintagel Castle, introduces her to a mermaid, and tells her stories of Cornish giants and fairies and King Arthur.

The second book is Dragon in Danger. Illus. Constance Marshall. Harmondsworth, Middlesex, UK: Penguin, 1959. At the end of Sue's second holiday, Dragon decides to visit her in St. Aubyn's, her home near London. Two skeptical moving men become great friends with Dragon when they give him a ride, playing chess and singing with him during the trip. Because he brings lots of luggage and needs more room than Sue's small house, Dragon settles on a lake island near her home. Feeding him is a frequent concern once he leaves his seaside cave. Magic rhymes that appear mysteriously in Sue's clothing, dragon adaptations of nursery rhymes and folk songs, are used to summon Dragon. Dragon makes friends in Sue's town, even with the arrogant Mrs. Wotherspoon. He is persuaded to play the dragon who fights St. Aubyns in their pageant about the town's ancient history. Dragon is won over when the mayor addresses him with great deference, and when historical events and dragons with which he was familiar are mentioned. Two shady characters plot to kidnap dragon and make money from him.

Marks, Dave. Dragonslaying Is for Dreamers. Houston, TX: National Writing Institute, 1999. 262 pp. "A boy leaves his small town, falls in love, and meets a wizard who teaches him how to kill dragons" (Worldcat).

McMullan, Kate H.  The Dragon Slayers' Academy. Illus. Bill Basso. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1990s. Later editions illustrated by Simon Clare.

In this series of slim, comical books that spoof the school story tradition, medieval romance, and modern popular culture, a trio of awkward pre-adolescents take courses such as Stalking a Fire-Breather, taught by Sir Mort under the watchful eye of Mordred, the stingy headmaster. Wiglaf is the small underdog protagonist, with three best friends: Mordred's nephew Angus; Erica, a know-it-all girl disguised as a boy; and Daisy, an enchanted pig that speaks Pig Latin. Dragon images are stereotypes representing the greatest fears and aspirations of the young knights in training. The stories also contain very irreverent parodies of legendary heroes such as Lancelot. Knight for a Day, Vol. 5, 1999, is about a contest in which his fans vie for the opportunity to meet Sir Lancelot. In a song praising Sir Lancelot, the boys sing, “He slays dragons, if they’re evil/He makes us proud to be medieval” (p. 34). Vol. 1 is The New Kid at School. In Revenge of the Dragon Lady (1997), "after accidentally killing a dragon, Wiglaf hopes his friends at Dragon Slayers' Academy will be able to help him prove himself a hero when he faces that dragon's mother, Seetha, the Beast of the East." In Countdown to the Year 1000 (1999), "alarmed by a prophecy that the world will end with the arrival of the year 1000, the students of Dragon Slayers' Academy get some advice from Zack, a boy who has traveled back from 1999." The series is advertised as "zany adventures from the days of yore when dragons were aplenty and dragon-slayers were ready, willingbut not always able." In Class Trip to the Cave of Doom (1997), "Wiglaf joins the other students of Dragon Slayers' Academy in searching the Dark Forest for the Cave of Doom, which supposedly contains the gold of the dead dragon Seetha." In no. 9, 97 Ways to Train a Dragon (2003), "After a mysterious egg hatches into a baby dragon, Wiglaf and his roommate Angus decide to keep it" (Worldcat). In no. 16, World's Oldest Living Dragon (2006), "Wiglaf and his classmates come to appreciate their elders when they learn that only a group of retired knights can save their school from the world's oldest living dragon, Grizzlegoreif they can get back in shape in time."

Nimmo, Jenny. The Dragon's Child. Illus. Alan Marks. New York: Orchard Books, 2008. 107 pp. "Dando, a young dragon who cannot fly, is captured by dangerous humans, but a kind slave-girl, an orphaned bird, and the melancholy son of the dragon's captors help him escape his imprisonment and learn to fly" (Worldcat).

O-Z

O'Hearn, Kate. Kira. Shadow of the Dragon. London: Hodder Children's, 2008. 368 pp.

Owen, James A. Here, There Be Dragons. New York: Simon Pulse, 2006. 326 pp. "Three young men are entrusted with the Imaginarium Geographica, an atlas of fantastical places to which they travel in hopes of defeating the Winter King whose bid for power is related to the First World War raging in the Real World." Also available as unabridged audiobook.

Owen, James A. The Search for the Red Dragon. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007. "It has been nine years since John, Jack, and Charles had their great adventure in the Archipelago of Dreams and became the Caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica. Now they have been brought together again to solve a mystery: someone is kidnapping the children of the Archipelago. And their only clue is a mysterious message delivered by a strange girl with artificial wings: 'The Crusade has begun.' Worse, they discover that all of the legendary Dragonships have disappeared as well" (Worldcat). Also available unabridged as 8 CDs read by James Langton, Simon & Schuster Audio, 2008.

Paolini, Christopher. Inheritance Cycle.

Eragon. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003. "In Alagaesia, a fifteen-year-old boy of unknown lineage called Eragon finds a mysterious stone that weaves his life into an intricate tapestry of destiny, magic, and power, peopled with dragons, elves, and monsters."

Eldest. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005. "After successfully evading an Urgals ambush, Eragon is adopted into the Ingeitum clan and sent to finish his training so he can further help the Varden in their struggle against the Empire." Click here for review by a student.

Brisingr. New York: Alfred a Knopf, 2008. "Final volume in Paolini's Inheritance series (intended as a trilogy but the author decided a fourth novel is needed to complete the series). "Brisingr is the old Norse word for fire" (Worldcat). Also available as audio CDs. Click here for review by a student.

Prior, Natalie Jane. Lily Quench & the Dragon of Ashby. Illus.  Janine Dawson. Sydney, NSW: Hodder Children's Books, 1999. 151 pp. "As a family of dragon slayers, the Quenches of Ashby have always been burning successes... until the evil Black Count invades, and the family’s fortunes go into a downward spiral. Then a dragon unexpectedly arrives and Lily, the last of the Quenches, is called upon to fight it. Soon she finds herself on a desperate, magical quest to save Ashby from destruction—and restore the lost heir to his throne...." (product description).

Robson, Mark. Firestorm. Dragon Orb. London: Simon & Schuster Children's, 2008. 320 pp.

Rodda, Emily. Rowan of Rin. Rowan, 1. London: Scholastic, 1994.

Rupp, Rebecca. The Dragon of Lonely Island. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 1998. 160 pp. Three modern children spending the summer with their mother on a secluded island find a three-headed dragon in a cave, which tells a moralistic story suited to each child. They "learn what it means to be a Dragon Friend." See sequel below.

Rupp, Rebecca. The Return of the Dragon. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2005. "Hannah, Zachary, and Sarah Emily return to Lonely Island to save their friend, Fafnyr, a three-headed dragon, from being captured by a rich man who wants to put the creature on display." The dragon tells a number of stories.

Samson, Donald. The Dragon Boy: Book One of The Star Trilogy. Ghent, NY: AWSNA, 2008. 245 pp. Cataloged as a bildungsroman as well as dragon fiction.

Scieszka, Jon. Knight of the Kitchen Table.  Illus. Lane Smith.  New York:  Puffin, 1991.

The Time Warp trio, three typical American boys, are suddenly transported from Joe’s kitchen to the realm of King Arthur and the Round Table, through Joe’s birthday gift of a book from his magician uncle.  The slim chapter book's offbeat humor includes the kinds of insults, exaggeration, wisecracks about modern and medieval culture, and gross jokes that many young kids revel in. When the boys trick a really disgusting giant into attacking an approaching dragon (named Smaug like Tolkein's dragon in The Hobbit), the book’s dramatic climax is an explosion caused by giant belches meeting dragon flame.  One of a series of wacky time travel satires set in different historical periods.

Service, Pamela F. Yesterday's Magic. New York: Random House, 2008. 216 pp. Listed in Worldcat as pre-adolescent fiction. "In the twenty-sixth century, Heather is kidnapped by Morgan LeFay, sending Merlin, Wally, Troll, and a dragon on a collision course with the reawakened mythical beings of several cultures, while Arthur and his bride, Margaret, continue their efforts to unite Britain" (Worldcat).

Skye, Obert. Pillage. Salt Lake City, Utah: Shadow Mountain, 2008. Click here for review by a student.

Smith, Jeff. The Dragonslayer. Bone, 4. London: HarperCollins Children's, 2008. Graphic novel.

Steer, Dugald. The Dragon Diary. Dragonology Chronicles, 02. Illus. Douglas Carrell. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2009. Second in the series of novels about dragonologist Dr. Drake.

Steer, Dugald. The Dragon's Eye. Dragonology Chronicles, 01. Illus. Douglas Carrell. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press, 2006. (Warning: mild spoilers in this summary) First in the series of novels about dragonologist Dr. Drake, subject of Steer's other Dragonology books. The narrator is a boy who spends the summer studying dragons with Dr. Drake, owner of a shop full of dragonalia and a country estate where live dragons are hunted and assisted. Peter and his older sister learn that their parents, who have failed again to return to England from India for the summer, are also dragonologists who have vowed to protect the world's dragons. Peter behaves impulsively rather than obediently at first and has trouble earning Dr. Drake's trust. The children join the Secret and Ancient Society of Dragonologists and accompany Dr. Drake on dangerous adventures that interrupt the summer school in which they are studying dragons. They encounter dragons of different sizes which are hard to impossible to handle, but not all hostile, and some can talk. While they are with the children of another prominent dragonologist, the two girls form a QTB alliance, trying to prove that girls can be quicker than boys at important tasks. The Dragon's Stone, which they pursue in Cornwall in a race with a corrupt dragon hunter (who has been assisted by a female Russian dragon expert), is one of twelve magic objects important to dragons and Dragon Masters. Conflicts among adults over whether dragons should be kept secret or made public, and whether the dragons will name a new human Dragon Master, contribute to a dangerous climax in the lair of a very old dragon. Cliffhangers about the future of dragons and humans inspire interest in the next book of the series.

Sterman, Betsy and Samuel. Backyard Dragon. New York: HarperCollins, 1993. A middle grade novel about Wyrdryn, a fifteenth-century Welsh dragon, banished by a wizard to Kings Ridge, New Jersey, and the twentieth century. Young Owen discovers the beast, but no one else believes the dragon exists.

Sutcliff, Rosemary. The Minstrel and the Dragon Pup. Illus. Emma Chichester Clark.  Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1993.

A minstrel’s harp music awakens a dragon as it hatches from an egg that has been lost on a beach. The minstrel raises the dragon as a beloved pet named Lucky, who follows him with a collar and leash. Caring for something improves the minstrel's music, which becomes sad (thus decreasing his income) when traveling showmen steal Lucky. After hearing vague reports of the dragon being exploited and later sold, the minstrel finds his forlorn dragon in a cage at the king's palace. After the minstrel's music wakes up the sick prince, the minstrel, who prefers his wandering life, refuses the offer of a lordship and riches, asking only for Lucky and a royal decree that no one must steal his dragon again. The illustrations in oil pastels were inspired by Pierro della Francesco.

Thompson, Jill. Magic Trixie and the Dragon. New York: HarperTrophy, 2009. 93 pp. "Magic Trixie, a young witch, wants a real dragon for a pet, but finds that getting one is not as easy as she thought."

Thomson, Sarah L. Dragon's Egg. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2007. 267 pp. "Mella, a young girl trained as a dragon keeper, learns that the legends of old are true when she is entrusted with carrying a dragon's egg to the fabled Hatching Grounds, a dangerous journey on which she is assisted by a knight's squire."

Tolkien, J. R. R.  Farmer Giles of Ham. London: Allen & Unwin, 1949. A short comic novel about a farmer’s encounter with a giant and dragons. Republished in many editions, including a 50th anniversary edition, Illus. Pauline Baynes. London: HarperCollins, 1999. Also available as CD, read by Derek Jacobi. HarperCollins, 2003.

Tolkien, J. R. R.  The Hobbit.  Allen and Unwin, 1937.  

The hobbit Bilbo Baggins’ confrontation with the red dragon Smaug is a climatic scene in Tolkein's first novel set in the fantasy world depicted in more detail and named Middle-Earth in his later books, The Lord of the Rings. The wizard Gandalf pressures Bilbo into following some dwarves on a quest to recover ancestral treasure from the dragon. Jane Yolen calls this dragon "a mean-spirited and dangerous miser" (in "Here Be Dragons"). Smaug has been compared to Fafnir in Norse mythology, the dragon that stole the treasure of dwarves and hoarded it until he was killed by the hero Sigurd. Tolkein's fantasies were influenced by his studies as a scholar of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, his knowledge of English folklore and fairy tales, and his views of England and experience in World War I. Bilbo’s Last Song (Illus. Paula Baynes.  New York: Knopf/Dragonfly, 1990) is a picture book based on a song from the novel.

Tolkien, J. R. R. Narn I Chîn Húrin: The Tale of the Children of Húrin. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. Illus. Alan Lee. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007. "The Children of Húrin reunites fans of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings with Elves and Men, dragons and Dwarves, Eagles and Orcs. Presented for the first time as a complete, stand-alone story, this stirring narrative will appeal to casual fans and expert readers alike, returning them to the rich landscape and characters unique to Tolkien."

Vande Velde, Vivian. Dragon's Bait. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich/Yolen, 1992. A girl falsely accused of witchcraft is sentenced to be sacrificed to a dragon, until a dragon that is able to transform into a human helps her.

Vernon, Ursula. Dragonbreath. New York: Dial Books, 2009. 146 pp. "Danny Dragonbreath and his friend Wendell get an up-close underwater tour of the Sargasso Sea from Danny's sea-serpent cousin, encountering giant squid and mako sharksand learn about standing up to bullies in the process."

Ward, Peter. Dragon Horse. London: Doubleday, 2008. 465 pp.

Wayland, Drew. Dragonslayer. Ballantine, 1981. Based on the Disney movie.

Webb, Beth. Wanted, One Dragon. Illus. Jenny Press. Oxford: Lion, 1999. 128 pp. "Uncle Peter maintains that every cellar should have a dragon, so Louise and Peter set out to find one. This entertaining story introduces children to themes of helping those in need and accepting those who have been rejected" (product description).

Wilkinson, Carole. Dragon Moon. New York: Hyperion Books for Children, 2008. 328 pp. "In China during the Han Dynasty, young Ping must take Kai, the dragon she rescued, on a long and perilous journey to the ancient haven of the dragons following cryptic clues left by the wise dragon, Danzi, and aided by old friends" (Worldcat).

Williams, Tad, and Deborah Beale. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm. Illus. Greg Swearingen. New York: Harper, 2009. 412 pp. "When their great-uncle Gideon invites Tyler and Lucinda to his farm for the summer, they discover his animals are extremely unusual."

Wrede, Patricia. Dealing with Dragons. 1990.  Searching for Dragons. 1991. Calling on Dragons, 1993. Talking to Dragons, 1993. New York: Harcourt. The series was reprinted by Scholastic/Point Fantasy, 1998.

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles Series is full of tongue-in-cheek spinoffs of traditional fairy tale plots. In Dealing with Dragons, strong-minded Cimorene loves fencing, Latin, cooking and sorcery. Bored at court and unwilling to act like a conventional princess or marry a prince selected by her parents, she runs away and lives with a society of dragons. After agreeing to work for them as a sort of cook and librarian, she also helps them survive a devious plot by bad wizards. Available on an unabridged cassette tape read by Words Take Wing Repertory.

By the fourth book, Cimorene's son Daystar is 16, pursuing his own adventures that involve a firewitch and a young dragon looking for its own princess

Yep, Laurence.  Dragon of the Lost Sea.  Harper and Row, 1982.  The dragon Shimmer narrates the story of her experiences with her boy companion and struggles to understand humans. The point of view focuses on the orphan boy in parts of the narrative. Shimmer is a disinherited dragon who has been living disguised as an old woman, until she has the opportunity to retrieve her magic pearl and lost sea kingdom from evil usurpers.

Yep, Laurence.  Dragonwings.  Harper and Row, 1975.  Set in San Francisco in the first decade of the 1900s.  Yep has written that "Windrider's former life as a dragon symbolizes. . . imaginative power in all of us."

Yep, Laurence.  The Serpent's Children.  Harper and Row, 1984.  Footbinding and prejudice are themes in this story of characters who are part serpent and part human.

Yolen, Jane. Dragon’s Blood, 1982. Heart’s Blood, 1984.  A Sending of Dragons, 1987.  New York: Delacorte/Dell/Harcourt Brace.

The Pit Dragon Trilogy, about young heroes (male and female) on a planet, Austar IV, where trained dragons fight for sport.
See covers and details in Jane Yolen's web site.  Yolen refers to the dragons in this trilogy as "a sentient enslaved race" (in "Here Be Dragons").

In Dragon's Blood, Jakkin is an indentured servant who manages to train his own dragon and win his freedom.

Yolen, Jane. The Dragon’s Boy.  Harper, 1990.  Short novel based on legends of the boyhood of Arthur.  

Artos is a foster child who knows nothing about his parents except that he carries a ring from his mother in a bag around his neck.  He does menial labor in Sir Ector's small, remote castle,, trying to fit in with Sir Ector's son Cai and the other boys, Bedvere and Lancot.  There is a surprising relationship between an aged Merlin character called Old Linn and the image of a dragon in a cave, dispensing wisdom and jewels to help Artos mature and buy his first sword.  See cover and details in Jane Yolen's web site.  

Young, Russell. Dragonsong: A Fable for the New Millennium. Illus. Civi Cheng. Auburn, CA: Shen's Books, 2000. Listed as pre-adolescent fiction. "As Chiang-An, a small Chinese dragon, travels the world in search of a special enduring gift for his village, he meets four other dragons, each of whom gives him a song, an unusual gift, and words of wisdom" (Worldcat).

Zahn, Timothy. Dragon and Liberator: The Sixth Dragonback Adventure. New York: Tom Doherty, 2008. A Starscape book. 364 pp. "Orphaned fourteen-year-old Jack Morgan and his symbiont, the dragon warrior Draycos, desperately rush to save the K'da from a genocidal ambush at the hand of Arthur Neverlin, the man who killed Jack's parents" (Worldcat).

Zinnen, Linda. The Dragons of Spratt, Ohio. New York: HarperCollins, 2004. 233 pp. "Seventh-grader John Salt, a budding animal behaviorist, and his best friend's sister become unlikely allies in an attempt to protect a pack of dragons from an unscrupulous cosmetics researcher."

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Dragon Episodes and Images in Other Novels

Dalkey, Kara. Little Sister. New York: Harcourt/Yolen, 1996. A historical young adult fantasy/adventure that uses Shinto and Buddhist religious beliefs, ancient mythology, and twelfth-century Japanese records. A 13-year-old member of the royal court tells of her mysterious search for her older sister, which includes visits to supernatural realms such as the cave of the Dragon King.

Keen, Carolyn [pseud.]. Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Fire Dragon. New York : Grosset & Dunlap, 1961. Nancy Drew and friends visit her Aunt Eloise in New York City to help find a missing Chinese American girl. They get caught up in a larger mystery involving a dangerous smuggling ring, and all travel to Hong Kong with Nancy's father to solve the case. A dragon drawing that shows up on stationery and cards is a major clue. Near the very end of the story, Nancy and friends attend a party where they see a fireworks display of a fire dragon.

LeGuin, Ursula. A Wizard of Earthsea. Parnassus, 1968.
The training of the wizard Ged includes saving a village from a dragon.  
Also about Earthsea:
The Tombs of Atuan, 1971.
The Farthest Shore, 1972.
Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, 1990.
Tales from Earthsea.  New York: Harcourt Brace, 2001.  A collection of three Earthsea stories.
The Other Wind.  New York: Harcourt Brace, 2001.
Jane Yolen writes that dragons in the Earthsea books represent "a force of ancient wisdom" (in "
Here Be Dragons").

Lewis, C. S. “The Chronicles of Narnia.” 7 volumes. 1950-56.
Book 2, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1953), contains a dragon episode:  a mean boy, Eustace, is turned into a dragon. He immediately regrets his irresponsible behavior and works his way back to humanity. Reprinted with illustration by Michael Hague in his collection The Book of Dragons, 1995.

Pierce, Tamora. The Realms of the Gods. New York: Simon & Schuster/Atheneum, 1996. In the final book in The Immortals fantasy series, dragons and other immortals help the hero.

Rowling, J. K.  See page Dragons in Harry Potter Books.

Yolen, Jane. The Wizard's Map. New York: Harcourt, 1999. Tartan Magic series, Book 1. When a sorcerer is let loose and holds an American family hostage in Scotland, a dragon, a unicorn and a dog, who have been held captive in the iron legs of a garden bench, help the 13-year-old heroine develop her magic powers to defeat the villain. See cover and details in Jane Yolen's web site.


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This page's last update: 5/21/10