It all started with Bone by Jeff Smith. My kids found this graphic novel collection (which I don’t recommend for young children) on my bookshelf, were attracted by the cartoonish graphics and then fascinated by the dragon.
Then a librarian, Mark Rustman, recommended the animated series Jane and the Dragon, based on the book by Martin Bayton. A young girl who is trying to train as a knight’s apprentice gets a little help from a gentle dragon in her quest. The theme song is catchy and the kids get up and dance and sing along.
In the second DVD, the adventures continue as Jane, Dragon, and their companions stick together, proving the importance of loyalty and the value of everlasting friendship.
My kids both love the show, and spend hours playing “knight” and “dragon” together or with their toys.
More librarians, recommending more books!
Dragons and knights seem linked in most of the picture books.
Next, I found a book bundle created by the Kids Library librarians that introduced us to even more dragon and knight stories. My 5 year old daughter, Kivrin, wasn’t that interested in her brother’s dragons until the knights and castles appeared, complete with princesses!
- The Knight Who Took All Day by James MayhewA dashing knight decides it’s time to impress the golden-haired princess. All he needs is a dragon to show off his marvelous talents. One day, a huge dragon appears on the horizon, smoke pouring from his nostrils. Immediately, the knight orders his squire to fetch his armor. But will he get dressed in time–or is this knight more interested in appearances than action? After much waiting, the golden-haired princess decides to tame that fire-breathing beast herself!
Mama says: The real story is told in the pictures, as the narrative about the knight ignores the actions of the (very heroic) princess. My kids love to point out what I’m missing by only reading the words.
Kivrin says: I like the princess.
Travis says: The knight has a cape!
- A Good Knight’s Rest by Shelley Moore ThomasThe Good Knight’s hard work has earned him a vacation, but his three little dragon friends come along and make the trip anything but relaxing.
Mama says: Text-heavy pages, but the repetition and the dramatized exhaustion of the knight and the outrageous actions of the little dragons kept the kids engaged.
Kivrin says: That knight needs a rest!
Travis says: The baby dragons are silly.
- Waking Dragons by Jane Yolen
In the morning, dragons wake up, tumble out of bed, and get ready to fly into the sky.
Mama says: Easy to read aloud, rhyme and rhythm make this one fun.
Kivrin says: The dragons don’t stay at school!
Travis says: That dog is funny.
- The Truth about Dragons by Thomas Kingsley TroupeDragons have roared their way through popular fairy tales for many years. Have you ever wondered why dragons look the way they do, where they might hide, or how they scare their enemies? Journey through this book to find out the truth about dragons.
Mama says: Kids see dragons in books and drawings and toys and movies, and want dragons to be real. The book explains how dragons appear in the folklore of several cultures, and summarizes some of the shared characteristics of the dragons from stories.
Kivrin says: See, dragons aren’t real!
Travis says: My dragons are real, though, right?
- Richard Scarry’s Peasant Pig and the Terrible Dragon: With Lowly Worm the Jolly Jester! by Richard Scarry
When Princess Lily is captured by a dragon, Peasant Pig bravely attempts her rescue.
Mama says: This is a long book. I was amazed that my three year old listened to the whole book. The illustrations sometimes have several scenes per page, and we had to discuss the layout of the artwork. My kids asked for this one so many times that we ended up buying a copy to keep at home.
Kivrin says: “It’s not a real dragon.
Travis says: “Peasant Pig! Peasant Pig! Read it again!”
The quest for dragons has led us to a new quest – for more books about knights, and a Halloween costume as well.
The best thing about using the library with young children is that we can return all the dragon books and check out books on knights…and then return those and check out books on whatever topic interests the kids next!
How have library books support your kids’ interests over the years? What do I have to look forward to as my kids get older?