Book Review: The Book of Dragons

Rating: ★★★★☆

Michael Hague is known for his gorgeous illustrations of classic children’s literature, and this volume is no disappointment.  He has selected a number of good stories about dragons — traditional fairy tales from Andrew Lang, a selection from Tolkien’s The Hobbit, two of Edith Nesbit’s short stories, and others.  These are illustrated with one wonderful painting per selection, with additional line drawings.

While Grahame has good taste in his selection of stories, there is a wide variety of writing styles and moods, and the effect when read all together is somewhat choppy.  Some stories may appeal more than others, and in the excerpts of larger stories the full import of the events will not be fully grasped.  The advantage of a compilation like this, though, is that you can always go find “the rest of the story,” and in fact most of these selections are short stories which can stand on their own.

While the wonderful paintings will make the book attractive to younger readers, about half of the stories are marked by advanced language.  It may be best for the 8-12 age range.

A point of modesty: In the story of Perseus’ rescue of Andromeda from the sea serpent, Andromeda is pictured unclothed.  Artistically confident adults should be able to draw some clothing for her if this is a concern.

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Publication Information: Hague, Michael. Book of Dragons, The. William Morrow & Co.. 1995. ISBN: 0688108792.
Categories: 4 Stars, Age 08-12
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Posted on September 14, 2010

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