Friday, January 24, 2014

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2014 - Part 4 of 5

Three down, two to go: Today marks Part 4 of 5 for the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons. If you're new here and wondering what all the fuss is about, click on the link above, and that should get you nicely up to speed. Then come on back here to continue the festivities.

If you already know what's up (or you're new but now up to speed), you'll probably be wanting to get right to it. Scroll on, then, and let's get started.

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.

Today we have three more books to share. Two involve helping a brand-new-from-the-egg dragon get its start in this life. The third involves a typical dragon-and-princess scenario that comes about through decidedly non-typical circumstances:

The Egg
Written and illustrated by M. P. Robertson
Ages 5 - 8

George does what any self-respecting boy would do when he finds an enormous egg under his mother's favorite chicken: He takes it to his room, where he keeps it warm and reads it stories.

And when the egg hatches three days and nights later, out comes a dragon who seems delighted when he sees George. And so, George takes on the motherly duty of teaching the dragon some "dragony ways." There are flying lessons, and fire-breathing lessons, and lessons in rescuing damsels in distress. He even teaches the dragon how to defeat a knight, and reads him dragon tales in the evenings.

But one day, the dragon becomes lonely for his own kind, and George can only sadly wonder: Is this the end of his days with the dragon?

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
Written by Bruce Coville
Illustrated by Gary A. Lippincott
Ages 9 - 12

Sixth grader Jeremy Thatcher, on the run from two bullies intent on making him submit to a rather insistent girl's kiss, suddenly finds himself in a part of his small town that he's never seen before, in a small magic shop he's never been in before, unintentionally buying what he thinks is a mysterious marble.

When he gets home, Jeremy gets out the instruction sheet the shop's owner gave him, and can hardly believe what he reads there: What he has bought is not a marble. It's a dragon egg, and he's now charged with both hatching and raising the beast - neither of which he knows anything about. 

Hatching the egg turns out to be fairly simple, but raising the dragon he names Tiamat is not, even with help from Miss Priest, the town's librarian, and – to Jeremy's great surprise – Mary Lou Hutton, the girl who was so fervently determined to kiss him the day he got the egg.

But when the shop owner sends another note a few months later, Jeremy discovers hatching and raising a dragon are not nearly as hard to do as what what must come next - seeing that dragon home.

Dealing With Dragons: The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Book One
Written by Patricia C. Wrede
Ages 10 and up

Princess Cimorene of Linderwall does not fit the customary princess mold. She is dark-haired, instead of fair like her six sisters. She is tall, instead of petite like her six sisters. She does not enjoy princess-ly lessons in etiquette or embroidery, and does all she can to wrangle fencing lessons or magic lessons for herself – at least until her parents get wind of what she's doing and ends them. And as for her disposition? Well, "strong-minded" is a phrase often aimed her way, and sometimes, "stubborn as a pig."

One day, Cimorene learns of her parents' plans to marry her off to Therandil, prince of a neighboring kingdom, thereby taking her off of their exasperated hands. Frustrated and angry, she despairs of ever living an exciting life. But then she meets a talking frog who points her in the direction of a source of help. Following the frog's advice to the letter, Cimorene soon finds herself in a damp, dark hovel, conversing with unseen voices. It's not until a ball of light illuminates things that she finally lays eyes on those she's conversing with: Dragons!

Frightened at first, Cimorene slowly begins to see a way out of the boring life her parents have planned for her. It is a bold idea, and what she proposes shocks the dragons: What kind of young woman volunteers to be a dragon's princess?

* * *

Time does fly when one is having literary dragon fun, and we are nearly done for 2014. Join us next Friday, January 31st, for Part 5 of 5, where we'll share three more books in the final post of the Second Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons.

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