Friday, January 10, 2014

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2014 - Part 2 of 5

Here at Chez Wheedleton, the temperatures have been positively arctic, which is the perfect excuse to stay in and warm up with some celebratory dragon reading during this Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons.

If you're new here, clicking on the link above will fill you in quite nicely. Once you're all caught up, come on back and continue the literary dragon festivities.

If you've been here before – or if you're new and back now from catching up on things – you're probably itching to get started, so scroll on down to see what's in store today:

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident dragon expert:  Lovely Girl

Each book featured in this series 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 appreciate a dragon. 

For Part 2 of 5, we have three more dragon books to share: one picture book, and two middle grade books. All three have never before been seen here at Bugs and Bunnies (and we wonder how on earth we've missed them all this time):

Not Your Typical Dragon
Written by Dan Bar-el
Illustrated by Tim Bowers
Ages 3 and up

Crispin Blaze is about to turn seven. When the day finally comes, the little dragon sits in front of his birthday cake, excited to light his very own candles with his very own firebreath for the very first time. But when he opens his mouth, all that comes out is...whipped cream! Crispin's father is angry. His mother is worried. His sister is thrilled. (She loves whipped cream.) So his parents take him to the doctor, and Crispin tries again: Bandaids! At fire-breathing practice after school, he tries a third time: Marshmallows!

Despairing that he will ever be a "real dragon," and fearing his family's disappointment, Crispin runs away and hides in a dark cave. Soon, along comes Sir George – a frightened young knight who can't return home without fighting a fire-breathing dragon. He offers to help Crispin find his fire, which they are certain will solve both of their problems. But after a long day of experimenting, they are no closer to their goal, and Sir George takes the little dragon home to his worried parents.

Then who shows up at Crispin's house but Sir George's angry father, the king, who demands an explanation for Sir George's presence there. When he hears about Crispin's predicament, the king laughs, which makes Crispin's father angry. Things soon get very hot indeed, and it seems like all is about to be lost. And then, Crispin feels a bubbling in his belly. So he opens his mouth. But will what comes out be the one thing they need to fix this?

The Last Dragon
Written by Silvana De Mari
Translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside
Ages 10 and up

Yorsh is an orphan elf, born lately, and the last of his kind. Humans have forced the elves into the harsh life of the Elf Camps, believing the elves were to blame for the unpleasant turn that life in the world has taken: Everyone is cold, wet, and plagued by hunger. When the rains flood Yorsh's home, his grandmother, who is unable to save herself, commands him to run. So he does.

Trying to survive out in the larger world on his own, Yorsh is on the brink of failure when he comes into the reluctant company of a human woman named Sajra and her unnamed dog. The three are soon joined by an even more reluctant human man named Monser. But these are dangerous times, and the trio are nearly killed in the city of Daligar when Yorsh is recognized as an elf. During their escape, Yorsh discovers a prophesy carved into the stone arches of the city, which says in part that the last elf must find the last dragon, for only when the two meet can the darkness be driven from the world.

Their journey to find the dragon is long and fraught with danger, and when they find him, Sajra, Monser, and the dog Yorsh has named Fido, travel on to make their own lives. Yorsh stays behind, tending to the dragon's every need, all the time believing the prophesy has been fulfilled. Thirteen years later, Yorsh discovers that though he is the elf named in the prophesy, the dragon is not the old one he's been caring for all these years.

It's the new one in the egg about to hatch. And the prophesy is only just beginning.

Dragon Keeper
Written by Carole Wilkinson
Ages 8 - 12

In China, at the remote Imperial Palace at Huangling Mountain, lives a nameless girl, whose only friend is a rat named Hua. She was sold as a slave by her parents long ago to Master Lan, the lazy Imperial Dragon Keeper who neglects the last two imprisoned dragons in his care. When one of the dragons dies, the slave girl determines to better care for the surviving dragon and the dragon stone he so carefully guards.

Over the next several weeks, the dragon's health begins to improve under the girl's care. But then the Emperor pays an unexpected visit, during which the slave girl learns of his plans to sell the sole remaining dragon to a hunter with plans to kill it for further profit. In the slave girl's panicked attempt to help the dragon flee, she finds herself caught up in his escape. Eventually, the dragon convinces the girl to leave behind her miserable existence at the palace and travel with him on his quest to get the dragon stone to a place he calls "Ocean." The journey is long and full of dangers, during which they face both friend and foe alike.

Along the way, the girl learns that she has always had a name, and it is Ping. She learns that the dragon has had many names, but his real name is Long Danzi. She learns that the dragon stone is more than it appears to be. And she learns that she is far more than the nameless, helpless slave girl she had always thought herself to be.

* * *

And so ends Part 2 of 5. Be sure to come back next Friday, January 17th, for Part 3 of 5, when we'll present three more books to further celebrate our Literary Appreciation of Dragons.


  1. Who knew there were so many dragon books. I love the picture book; I think I need to study that one because it sounds similar to a picture book I'm trying to write. Hope you've been well and keeping warm!

    1. So many dragon books! It's fantastic! And no doubt more will be written every year (happily for all of us here at Chez Wheedleton). I agree - Not Your Typical Dragon is wonderful, and one of my favorites. I have been well, and hope you have been, too. Keeping warm, though...not so much. (Darn polar vortex!)


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