Monday, January 14, 2013

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons - Part 2 of 3

Welcome to the second day of the First-Ever Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, which is in turn part of our Appreciate a Dragon Day celebration here at Chez Wheedleton.

Not sure what this is all about? Click the following two links to get caught up, and then come on back here so we can continue the festivities:

Ah! You're back! Best get to it then, shall we?

More Dragon Book Revelry! 
We have four more books to share today. Just like Part One's list, each book below deals with dragons on its own terms: in some, dragons are central to the story, and in others, less so, but reading any or all of these books is a wonderful and fun way to celebrate Appreciate a Dragon Day:

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Written and illustrated by Grace Lin
Ages 9-12

Minli, her parents and the rest of the villagers who live in the Valley of Fruitless Mountain spend long, hard hours tromping about in the mud, backs bent as they tend their rice fields each day. But for Minli, each evening holds a bright spot, for it is then that her father tells her wondrous tales about the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Her mother, who has grown weary of their poor life, admonishes her father against filling Minli's head with nonsense, but Minli not only enjoys the tales, but believes them to be true.

One day, Minli buys a goldfish from a goldfish man who comes to their village. But there is not enough food to go around, and Minli realizes she cannot keep it. When she goes to the river to set the goldfish free, Minli makes a startling discovery, which sends her off on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon from her father's stories. He is said to know the answers to all of life's questions, and Minli intends to ask him how her family's fortunes might be changed. Minli meets many interesting and sometimes magical folk along the way, including a dragon who decides to join her in her quest. But can they find the Old Man of the Moon? And even if they do, will he help?

The Dragon of Cripple Creek
Written by Troy Howell
Ages 8 and up

When twelve-year-old, gold-loving, adventure-seeking Katlin Graham takes the tour of the old Molly Kathleen Gold Mine, she can't resist stepping past a barricade to get to what she thinks may be a bit of real gold. And that's when things go very wrong. The lights suddenly go out, the planks beneath her feet give way, and Kat falls deep into the pitch-black mine, in a part most certainly not on the tour. Injured and afraid, she has no choice but to feel her way through the unknown tunnel she's fallen into, and hope it leads to a way out.

When she finally sees light up ahead, it's not the way out she was hoping for. It's the lair of an ancient dragon named Ye. Ye is the last of his kind. And he is dying. But he can show her the way out. Before he does so, Ye tells Kat of the extraordinary truth about gold, and about the one cure that keeps a dragon from dying. Despite what he's told her, Kat can't resist swiping a nugget of gold as she follows Ye to the way out of the mine.

Back above ground, Kat finds herself in the midst of a media frenzy. In all the commotion of cameras and interviews, the gold falls from her pocket - right in plain view. The sight of that little bit of gold sets off a whole new gold rush in the rowdy western town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. It also sets off shame in Kat that she's taken Ye's gold despite the truth she's learned. So she determines to set things right. But can she find a way to return Ye's gold? And if she does, can she save him not only from discovery, but from death, as well?

Dragon Rider
Written by Cornelia Funke
Ages 7 and up

Firedrake lives in the valley of the dragons with his dragon kin. But Rat has come to sound the alarm: humans are making their way to the valley, with plans to flood it for their own purposes. The dragons' home will be lost. If the dragons are to survive, they must leave.

Yet, there is hope. The oldest dragon in the valley, Slatebeard, has memories of another home. One safe from humans - the Rim of Heaven. If they are to save themselves, this is where the dragons must go. Only Slatebeard doesn't remember exactly where it is. So he tells the assembled dragons what he can: that its mountains are the highest in the world, with moonstone caves amongst its slopes, and that there is a valley floor in the middle of those mountains that is covered in blue flowers.

Young Firedrake volunteers to make the journey to find the Rim of Heaven. He is accompanied by his constant companion, a young brownie named Sorrel. Rat has a map-maker cousin who she feels sure can point them in the right direction, if only they can get to him undetected - for he lives in a big human city. Can Firedrake and Sorrel get to Rat's cousin undiscovered? Will Rat's cousin have a map that will lead them to the Rim of Heaven? And if they find the Rim of Heaven, can they get back in time to save the others?

The Kingdom of Fantasy (Geronimo Stilton)
Written by Geronimo Stilton
Ages 7 and up

Geronimo Stilton, spectacle-wearing, mild-mannered mouse, and best-selling author and publisher of The Rodent's Gazette newspaper, has once again found himself the reluctant hero in the middle of an adventure he was in no way trying to find.

This time, the trail of a shooting star beams right through Geronimo's open attic window, lighting up a glittering crystal music box at his feet - one Geronimo has never seen before. As he's examining that music box, he hears a sound, and turns to find that the star trail has turned into a staircase made of golden dust leading up and up and up. So Geronimo does what any self-respecting, scared-yet-curious mouse would do: He grabs a bag of supplies, and he climbs that staircase.

At the top of the staircase is a golden door. Behind the door is a crystal cave. Within the cave is a Literary Frog named Scribblehopper, who believes Geronimo is nothing less than a Fair Knight in Shining Armor. From Scribblehopper, Geronimo learns that he is in the Kingdom of Fantasy, that Blossom, Queen of the Fairies is in terrible danger, and that Queen Blossom believes only Geronimo can save her. Geronimo sighs. What else can he do? He raises his paw and solemnly promises to save the Queen of the Fairies.

Sir Geronimo of Stilton and Scribblehopper the Literary Frog journey through (and face many dangers in) six different Kingdoms - including the Kingdom of the Dragons - before they reach the Kingdom of the Fairies. But, once there, will Sir Geronimo have what it takes to save the Queen?

* * *

I hope you've enjoyed Part Two: More Dragon Book Revelry, of the First-Ever Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons.  

Please come back on Tuesday, January 15, when we present Part Three: Even More Dragon Book Revelry, with not three - as I previously stated - but four more books, since I found one more dragon book hiding amongst the other books on our shelves. (And isn't that a wonderful bit of serendipity?)


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