Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

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Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Kimberly Saunders
Reviewed by Kimberly Saunders
Summary: An absolutely delightful fantasy that will enchant children into wanting to read more.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 160 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1847385024

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The name Tony DiTerlizzi seemed vaguely familiar to me, and when I saw the blurb on the book's front informing me he had illustrated the Spiderwick Chronicles, I knew where I had come across him before. This time around, though, the story is completely different, and DiTerlizzi has written this solo as well as illustrated it. It's a fairy tale of sorts. I say of sorts, as the conceit is that a royal chronicler is sharing this tale with us.

You see, young Kenny the rabbit is a really bright lad. He lives on the farm with his hard working and practical knowledged farmer father and his mother who keeps the house and cooks lots of lovely things. Kenny goes to school in the nearby local village, where his thirst for knowledge stands him somewhat apart from his peers but delights his teachers and the owner of a local bookshop. Kenny loves to learn new things and to read, always has his head stuck in a book, so its rather handy that the book shop owner is on great terms with Kenny, often lending and gifting him new books that come his way. Kenny is busy one day, trying to set the table for dinner, whilst reading a book, when his very flustered father runs in the house shouting they need to move.

Unfazed, his mum calmly keeps making the soup, and settles down Kenny's father and gets to the heart of the matter. Kenny is excited. His father has seen a real dragon, and it has taken up residence on their farm! Kenny grabs his copy of the King's Bestiary, and has a read up on the subject, and decides he must go out and assess this dragon, and perhaps do his science report on it. Filled with trepidation, he assembles some makeshift armour and takes the book along to consult. Here he finds where truth and myth conflict, as he discovers Grahame the dragon is a kindly, bookish fellow with a love of the theatre. All seems well then, but you can't hide a creature that large for long. With The King's Bestiary proclaiming dragons a scourge to be exterminated, his bookselling friend, George, is called out of retirement by the king. It seems old George is a dragon slayer and the kingdom is baying for Grahame's blood. What can a young rabbit do, when his two best friends are being thrown into a deadly struggle that is all a terrible mistake?

I have to say I loved this book. It's genial tone kept the topic light, even during the most tense of moments, so that it reassured the young reader that all would come right in the end, no matter how bad it seemed. The illustrations were lovely, done in pen and ink, and added real character to the book. My seven year old daughter is a confident reader, and she found the book an absolute joy, reading it cover to cover in three evenings before bed. She proclaimed that Grahame was a true magic dragon and how lovely he was.

The pictures particularly captured her imagination, as she compared the goatish look of Grahame to the Luck dragon of The Neverending Story film, and giggled over Kenny's armour and the funny looks on the faces of many of the characters. The print was nice and large, so not overwhelming either, and she commented particularly on that as well. Like most children venturing into longer chapter books, she hates seeing row upon row of 'small' print, and a lack of illustrations, so this fits her criteria for an attempt at reading it. So, two thumbs up from each of us for this gently humouous tale of a young rabbit, his bookshop owning retired dragon slayer friend, and a bookish dragon, who learn how to beat bullies, control a mob, and set records straight.

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

If this book appeals then we think you might also enjoy The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.

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Buy Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi at


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