Here, there be dragons: best loved-books

Family reading time is a big deal in our household. Our cozy read-aloud audience has a notable fondness for a good dragon book. Lucky for us, dragons have been very popular in children's (and grown up) literature of late.

our top favourites to date:

"Wings of Fire" (series) by Tui T Sutherland 2013-2015

After borrowing the first book in the series from the library, purchasing the complete five book box set was a must to maintain the momentum. Each book focusses on one of the five, young “Dragons of Destiny” as they travel between warring kingdoms to fulfil a prophecy of peace. It is a well-crafted storyline with strong characters that balances a sassy sense of humour with often challenging themes, such as the nature of war, forgiveness, and looking beyond our differences to find understanding in commonalities. Bonus points to the author for creating strong, powerful female characters in matriarchal dragon societies. 

* The author does not shy away from a bit of dragon-on-dragon, or dragon-on-human, violence.

 Powerful advice from a Viking momma. Image from How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon's Fury, Cressida Cowell, 2015

Powerful advice from a Viking momma. Image from How to Train Your Dragon: How to Fight a Dragon's Fury, Cressida Cowell, 2015

"How to Train Your Dragon" (series) by Cressida Cowell 2008-2015

These books (12 in all) follow an unlikely hero on a series of seemingly disparate adventures that come together in a bittersweet but satisfying conclusion. The final book in the series was delayed, but well worth the wait. Admittedly, after such a long series were all a bit sad that the tale is over. Each book is sprinkled with sketches by the author that add to the quirky, creative writing style. While the tone is darker in later books, this series is fun, full of action, and entertaining. Note: If you have seen the “How to Train Your Dragon” movies or TV series, be prepared for a very different reading experience. The books and the screen adaptations are similar in name only.   

"Dragon Keepers" (series) by Kate Klimo 2009-2013

This was our first introduction to series books and is very good for younger audiences and early readers. Emmy and her keepers, 10-year old cousins, explore incredibly fanciful (and dangerous) realms and still make it home by curfew. As a parent, I question their lack of supervision (ha!), but appreciate their sense of adventure, loyalty and courage. These books are magical and imaginative. While each can stand alone, I was disappointed that author simply stopped writing in the series. We were left wanting more.

"Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher" by Bruce Coville 1991

 Doesn’t every kid wish for a dragon egg? Well, hatching and raising a dragon is a big responsibility, and not an undertaking Jeremy Thatcher was interested in pursuing. Coville weaves magic into the ordinary and relatable life of a boy with everyday kid problems. It’s an altogether enjoyable read, especially for those with at least one foot firmly rooted in reality. 

"Dragon Rider" by Cornelia Funke 1997

A New York Times bestseller, Dragon Rider was originally written in German. There something that feels very classic and yet fresh about the story. It is like a dream where you struggle to arrive at a destination, only to find yourself moving away from your goal. Lucky for Ben, the Dragon Rider, every detour is a chance opportunity. While I cannot speak to the original German text, the translated English version reads very smoothly off the tongue. We’ll read this one again.

Happy reading! I'd love to hear your comments, and take a few recommendations too. 

(If you missed my post from the soap box on family reading, please take a gander here:  keep it real, teddy ruxpin. older than old-school family reading


Laurie DolhanComment