Fangs 'n' Fire by Chris Mould

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Fangs 'n' Fire by Chris Mould

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 2.5/5
Reviewer: Gina Garnett
Reviewed by Gina Garnett
Summary: A beautifully illustrated book, but the content isn't really up to scratch.
Buy? No Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: August 2009
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
ISBN: 978-0340944752

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Fangs 'n' Fire is a compilation of ten short stories about dragons, some original to Chris Mould, and some are traditional ones that he's retold in his own words. The traditional ones include the tale of St George, a Greek myth called the Dragon's Teeth and the Chinese story of the eyeless dragons. The original ones vary in content from dragons taking over England to dragons being tiny and living in the spines of books, but they share one thing in common: they are all surprisingly anti-dragon. There's only one in which dragons are portrayed as noble or peaceful, and that's the ancient Chinese fable. I found this slightly odd, as the children who will want to read this book will be fans of, or at least interested in dragons. It also shows a lack of imagination as it's not mandatory for every dragon to be Smaug.

Mould seems to be trying to cover the seven to twelve-year-old market, but there isn't much for anyone in that age range to relate to, character-wise. Even the ones which apparently have child protagonists don't feel as if they do. The writing itself isn't really a high standard. I noticed several mistakes and quite often the turn of phrase is confusing. All in all, it was disappointing. While beautifully presented and illustrated, the content was bland, forgettable and seemed a bit like a rough draft. A child might enjoy one or two of the stories, but I'd be surprised to find one that liked more than half of them, and it'd be a challenge to name more than a couple of them without looking once you've put the book down.

Many of Mould's stories have frustrating endings, too. Too easy resolutions ruin some that might have otherwise been passable and many of the others contain cliffhangers which just feel like there's a page missing. Either way, is that it? was the phrase that came to mind every time a story finished. It's assuming that the children reading his book (or having it read to them) are going to accept what happened without saying and then what happened?, which is unlikely.

While Fangs 'n' Fire might make a nice gift, or be a good way to keep a child occupied for an hour or two, it's certainly not going to be a bookshelf favourite or one that gets requested at most bedtimes. It's almost worth buying for the pictures, but it's not really worth the time you would invest in reading it.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you're looking for a book about dragons we can recommend A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell. We can also recommend Aunt Severe and the Dragons by Nick Garlick and Nick Maland.

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Buy Fangs 'n' Fire by Chris Mould at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fangs 'n' Fire by Chris Mould at


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