Friday, January 9, 2015

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons 2015 – Part 1 of 4

We're getting a bit of a late start for the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, but let's not let that dampen our fun, shall we? Counting today, there are still four Fridays left for us to fill with fabulous books full of fantastic dragon stories of one sort or another.

Drawing courtesy of Chez Wheedleton's resident Dragon Expert: Lovely Girl


A Bit of Explanation, for those new to Bugs and Bunnies, or new to this series:

A Literary Appreciation of Dragons is a series where we feature books with some sort of dragon connection, with posts appearing each Friday in January. It began here at Bugs and Bunnies as part of our 2012 observance of Appreciate a Dragon Day - a holiday celebrated annually on January 16th. The day officially came into being ten years ago, courtesy of author Donita K. Paul, to celebrate the release of her novel, DragonSpell (Waterbrook Press, 2004). Want more details? Click on any of the links above for all kinds of dragony fun. When you've had your fill, come on back here, and we'll get started with this year's bookish dragon festivities.


And now, on to the literary dragon fun:

New for this year: Themes! (Not planned, but the books did seem to just fall into categories of their own accord. Weird, how that happens sometimes, isn't it?)

This week's theme:


Dragon Fact, Dragon Fable

All of today's books are informational in nature. All but one contain brief descriptions of various myths, legends or stories specific to various world cultures and histories. And that one that doesn't? Well, we'll save it for last. It's kind of in a category all its own:



Dragons (Monsters and Mythical Creatures)
By Carla Mooney
Ages 13 and up

Dragons is a well-researched, informative book presenting a wide variety of information, images and illustrations on everything to do with dragons. Five chapters cover the general similarities and differences dragons have across different cultures and mythologies, content specific to Western dragons and Eastern dragons, animals that may have inspired dragon myths, and dragon depiction within pop culture. There are also useful sections at the end, detailing the author's sources, a list of various media to consult for further exploration, a content index, and picture credits.



Dragons (Mythologies)
By John Malam
Ages 8 - 10

This beautifully illustrated Dragons book focuses on dragon myths and stories within various cultures. It covers information, myths and legends about dragons of Europe, the Middle East, China and Japan, and India. For each of these areas of the world, general information is presented about how dragons were depicted and described, as well as brief retellings of one or two myths or stories from those cultures. A helpful glossary and index are included at the end.



A Time of Golden Dragons
Written by Song Nan Zhang and Hao Yu Zhang
Illustrated by Song Nan Zhang
Ages 9 - 12

A Time of Golden Dragons traces the history and significance of dragons in Chinese culture, from their earliest beginnings up through today. The authors weave together history, culture, myth, art and storytelling to give the reader a clear, easy-to-understand narrative of the ways dragons are used, referred to, and depicted by the Chinese people.

There are sections on Where Dragons Come From, the difference between Eastern and Western dragons, dragons as a symbol of imperial power, Where Dragons Live, dragon references and their meanings within the Chinese language, the significance of dragons in Chinese festivals, dragon references and use in modern Chinese culture, and the dragon's part in the Chinese time measurement system. Each page is accompanied by colorful and detailed illustration to enhance understanding of the text.



The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species (How to Train Your Dragon)
Written and Illustrated by Cressida Cowell
Ages 8 - 12

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, reluctant hero of the How to Train Your Dragon series, against the wishes of his Viking Barbarian father, Stoick the Vast, Chief of the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, presents to the reader: The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species, which contains everything Hiccup has learned about dragons.

He includes sections on Dragon Anatomy, Nesting Sites, Dragon Eggs, Training Your Hunting or Lap Dragon, Dragon Riding, The Wilder Species, The Mighty Monsters, The Future of Dragons, and Know Your Dragons. Each section contains drawings, illustrations, typed information, and handwritten notes – some whole-page and some margin, and even a handy reference chart of dragon types and their respective characteristics. There is also a fold-out Map of the Barbaric Archipelago – the lands where Hiccup and the Hairy Hooligan Tribe and the dragons live and travel.

* * *

And so, that's that for this week. We hope you haven't yet had your dragon fill, though. Come on back next week for Part 2 of 4 of the Third Annual Bugs and Bunnies Literary Appreciation of Dragons, when we delve into books with dragon lore from one particular corner of the world...


 

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