10 Children’s Picture Books about Dragons

Dragon

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I enjoyed the rare pleasure of being a sofa sloth last weekend and cuddling up to watch a DVD with my family. The unanimous choice was How to Train a Dragon based on the hugely popular book by Cressida Cowell. We must have watched it nearly one hundred times already but never seem to tire of it. So it got me thinking it is time for another quick look book review and what better than to get ourselves all fired up by meeting a few more dragons. As before each book is reviewed by myself and rated out of ten by my two boys aged 5 and 8, the first from my youngest.


Dragon Stew Steve Smallman (author) & Lee Wildish (illustrator). Publisher: Little Tiger Press (1 Aug 2011). RATING: 2/10; 10/10.

When five bored Vikings meet one playful dragon, their adventure doesn’t quite turn out as planned. An easy to read, funny rhyme filled with expressive illustrations and amusing additional comments.

CLICK TO BUY Dragon Stew


The Trouble with Dragons Debi Gliori (author & illustrator) Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (6 Jul 2009). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

A brilliant story, beautifully told. It makes you laugh and it makes you think and I could study the illustrations for hours! This story subtly conveys a serious message within a very enjoyable book.

CLICK TO BUY The Trouble with Dragons


The Reluctant Dragon – Kenneth Grahame (author) & E. H. Shepard (illustrator). Publisher: Egmont (anniversary ed. 3 Feb 2008). RATING: 0/10; 2/10.

I thought I’d throw this one in for a bit of variety as it’s a little longer than the others and more of an early reader book than a picture book. However it’s a classic and was first published as an illustrated book in the US in 1938 and written by the author of one of my childhood favourites Wind in the Willows. This charming story about a stubborn dragon that refuses to fight St. George has so far stood the test of time. However the vocabulary is clearly old fashioned in places and because of this it can feel awkward and clunky to read. Sadly not a hit with my children.

CLICK TO BUY The Reluctant Dragon


The Dragon Machine Helen Ward (author) & Wayne Anderson (illustrator). Publisher: Templar Publishing (New ed. 1 Jan 2005). RATING: 10/10; 10.5/10.

We’ve had this book for a while and it is one that we go back to again and again as both boys love it yet for me, as much as I like it’s originality and find the images and writing both enchanting and engaging, I can’t help questioning whether it is condoning or encouraging a child to run away if they feel ignored because when the child is found they are no longer ignored. For this reason alone, I always feel a little uneasy reading this book. Not sure if I’ve missed anything here but would be interested to know your thoughts on this book too.

CLICK TO BUY The Dragon Machine (Book & CD) (Book & CD)


Zog – Julia Donaldson (author) & Axel Scheffler (illustrator). Publisher: Alison Green Books (1st ed. 1 Sept 2011). RATING: 5/10; 10/10.

This funny and engaging rhyming tale is one of our favourite books from the much loved children’s author Julia Donaldson where the extremely lovable Zog learns how to become a champion dragon. A well-known book which couldn’t be ignored in this line up.

CLICK TO BUY Zog


Doughnuts for a Dragon Adam & Charlotte Guillain (author) & Lee Wildish (illustrator). Publisher: Egmont (28 Aug 2014). RATING: 7.5/10; 9/10.

A witty and surprising adventure for George in his time machine. It’s a fun and amusing read for all ages.

CLICK TO BUY Doughnuts for a Dragon (George’s Amazing Adventures)


The Snow Dragon – Vivian French (author) & Chris Fisher (illustrator). Publisher: Corgi Children’s (New ed. 2 Nov 2000). RATING: 0/10; 10/10.

This is a magical and traditional tale of good versus evil. It was considerably longer than the average picture book and my youngest lost interest, hence the low rating. However its solid storyline is packed with adventure, bravery, war and peace.

CLICK TO BUY The Snow Dragon


Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon – Jules Bass (author) & Debbie Harter (illustrator). Publisher: Barefoot Books Ltd (New ed. 1 Nov 2005). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

The idea of a vegetarian dragon was really appealing to me and the colourful, bold illustrations attracted me to this book. So much so I had high hopes for the story and expected it to be a page turner and have me laughing all the way. Whilst I enjoyed the characters in the book the story was somewhat disappointing for me as I found it unnecessarily wordy in places and it felt like it was trying too hard to get its message across to the reader. This didn’t seem to deter my two voters however who gave it a resounding 10/10!

CLICK TO BUY Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon

You’ve got Dragons – Kathryn Cave & Nick Maland (authors/illustrators). Publisher: Friendly Dragon (5 Mar 2015). RATING: 7/10; 9.5/10.

I love this book which cleverly uses dragons to represent worries. Being a mythical creature that children can easily relate to any worry immediately becomes more tangible and controllable than the emotion by itself and encourages the reader to face their worries head on. The message is conveyed with humour and explores the emotions felt. The book builds confidence and lets the reader know they are not alone, everyone has worries and everyone needs hugs too.

CLICK TO BUY You’ve Got Dragons


When the Dragons Came Lynne Moore & Naomi Kefford (authors) Benjii Davies (illustrator). Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Books (27 May 2010). RATING: 10/10; 10/10.

A fun, light-hearted rhyming story, beautifully illustrated and it turns out that you should never form an opinion about dragons before talking to them first – who’d have thought it!

CLICK TO BUY When the Dragons Came

Source: public or private library

NOTE: Books for Children Blog is a participant in the Amazon EU Associates Programme, an affiliate advertising programme designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.co.uk

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