Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kenny & the Dragon

Cute, short novel for grades 3-7! Kenny & the Dragon is even appropriate for younger ages to listen to, and it's illustrated by the author, Tony DiTerlizzi, co-creator of The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Kenny is a rabbit who lives in a little village called Roundbrook. His best friend is the local bookshop owner, a badger who was once a knight but who now lives in retirement. One day, Kenny meets a dragon on his family's property. The dragon isn't at all like the books say they are. This one loves to read and play the piano and eat glazed carrots, and soon, he's Kenny's best friend, too. But when the townsfolk hear about the new dragon in town, they call their knight out of retirement to take care of the menace. It's up to Kenny to save his two best friends from each other.

I think I read this book in under two hours. It's an absolutely fun romp, a perfect bedtime story adventure to be read over several nights, one I look forward to reading to my own son one day. It even has a few hidden lessons about facing your fears and standing up for what you believe in. Definitely worth getting for younger kids. Middle schoolers are probably too cool for this, but if they're listening on the sidelines, I bet they'll get pulled in.

I'm not against having real danger in books. In fact, I think it's good for kids to be exposed to that in stories (not violence, just danger). Kenny & the Dragon has no real danger. It's more about humor and misunderstanding. I don't know if it would be a better story if there was real danger. It might be more deeply engaging, but regardless, it is satisfyingly good. Four solid stars.

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