Tuesday, May 8, 2012

15 Dragon Loving Picture Books!

Do your kids go through phases?  Mine do.  And, right now, my kids are in an all-out dragon phase.  Below are fifteen of their favorites, so you can join in the dragon-y love.  I love the dragon-y diversity.  And I'd love it if you'd chime in with your fire-breathing favorites too. 

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore
Illustrated by Howard McWilliam

When a Dragon Moves In is -- by far -- my kids FAVORITE dragon book.  Both boys simply cannot get enough of it.  My Kindergartner said it would be spots #1-10 if he was making this list.  How's that for a recommendation?  The premise is that "If you build the perfect sandcastle, a dragon will move in."  The boy and his new dragon pal cause a bit of mischief throughout their day at the beach.  It's not clear whether the dragon is a figment of the boy's imagination, or if he is real.  And, to add to the drama, my boys and I have differing opinions on the matter.  ;-)

Me and My Dragon by David Biedrzycki

Me and My Dragon is a very similar type of story, but with the most adorable red dragon I've ever seen.  You're kids will fantasize -- Oh the endless fun a pet dragon would be!

That Pesky Dragon by Julie Sykes 
Illustrated by Melanie Williamson

We first found That Pesky Dragon at the library when my oldest was two.  Four years later, I've never forgotten it.  The illustrations are quirky and adorable.  The story itself is quirky and adorable too...about the trouble caused by a little dragon trapped in the family well.  I have an Irish maiden name, and this book's distinctly Irish/English vibe is another endearing quality.

Oscar and the Very Hungry Dragon reminds me of an old-school Grimm's fairytale, but with a modern twist of Top Chef to keep things light.   I think you will love the boy's resourcefulness, as well as his culinary flair.  This one made my boys a bit nervous at first, but they loved it in the end.

Argus by Michelle Knudsen
Illustrated by Andrea Wesson

The whole science class hatches cute, fuzzy yellow chicks.  Right from the start, it's obvious that Sally's looks a little different.  (Hint:  he's bigger, greener, and breathes fire).  A tale about being unique and being okay with not being exactly like everyone else.  As a bonus, I love that it incorporates science terminology and methodology in a fun, natural way.  Argus would be a great summer book to tie with an at-home science experiment.

Tell Me a Dragon by Jackie Morris

Tell Me a Dragon is poetic book full of gorgeous dragon-y watercolors.  On each page someone tells about their dragon, with beautiful descriptive words.  The last page prompts, "Tell me your dragon."  I was surprised when the boys jumped all over each other to tell me about their dragon first.  

The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle  
Art by Hanako Wakiyama

The Best Pet of All is the hilarious tale of a resourceful boy who enlists the help of an unlikely ally --a dragon-- to convince his mom that a dog really is the best pet of all.  We've read this one again and again, and again.

Emperor of Absurdia by Chris Riddell

I like the absurdia aspect of this book.  The world that Chris Riddell created is a bit reminiscent of Suess.  Though the story's a bit random and manic, it's enjoyable in all its quirky glory.  It ends with a cute twist on life perspective.

The Dragon Trilogy by M. P. Robertson

We first meet sweet, studious George in The Egg, as he wonders what will hatch from the giant golden egg he finds in the family hen house.  When a dragon hatches, George takes the task to heart.  After training his new found dragon, he learns that it's okay to say goodbye.  But George has made a friend for life, and his dragon adventures continue in The Dragon Snatcher and The Great Dragon Rescue , where George and his dragon team up to save other dragons from a dastardly wizard and a toad-eating witch.  The realistic paintings are the best part of the threesome.  The kiddos were completely drawn into George's world.  

King Jack and the Dragon  by Peter Bently & Helen Oxenbury

King Jack and the Dragon celebrates the imagination, bravado, friendship and fears of boyhood.  I love that it's a dragon book filled with the sweet innocence of childhood play.  

Dragon Stew by Steve Smallman 
Illustrated by Lee Wildish

Dragon Stew is a tale of a bored band of Viking punks looking for something to do.  Eventually they decide upon the perfect something new: dragon stew.  And the dragon hunt begins.  In the end, thankfully, the dragon gets the best of these Viking rapscallions.

The Dragon Machine by Helen Ward  
Illustrated by Wayne Anderson

The Dragon Machine tells the story of a lonely, forgotten boy who sees dragons that no one else notices.  It's a very melancholy story, but the drawings of the boy's amazing dragon machine are so wonderful that I highly recommend it, even if on that basis alone.  I liked that machine-like drawings so much that I hunted down another Ward/Anderson creation:  The Tin Forest .  I recommend you check them both out of your local library.  The Tin Forest hits a brighter note.

Max's Dragon by Kate Banks  
Pictures by Boris Kulikov

Max's Dragon celebrates rhyming, imagination and building human connection.  The boys loved that a dragon was hiding in most of the illustrations, and that the story involved cloud-watching.  It's a follow-up book to Max's Words , which after flipping through the sample on Amazon, I think I would really, really like.   It's a book about collections -- and how Max finally decided to be a collector of words.  My kind of book.  I love how finding one book can lead you on a trail to another that you love even more.

Dragon Pizzeria by Mary Morgan

Dragon Pizzeria gets mixed reviews in our house.  It's not my favorite, but Nolan really likes it.  Two dragons open a pizza joint.  Right there is the draw:  dragons + pizza = cool.  They take orders from a wide array of fairy tale characters, each who order toppings tailored to their character.  The book culminates at a storybook wedding with an ensemble cast and a pizza feast.  It's told in comic book style, which is probably why it's not my favorite thing to read.  Am I the only one who has trouble with comic book format?  

Puff The Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow & Lenny Lipton  
Art by Eric Puybaret

I included Puff The Magic Dragon because you can't have a dragon list without it.  I'm not a huge fan of song-based books, but Puff is legendary.  And the new artwork is really nice.  The one we checked out of our library included an audio cd, which my boys loved listening while flipping through it. 

How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III
Translated by Cressida Cowell  ;-)

In ode to what started the dragon obsession in our household, I had to include the How to Train Your Dragon DVD.  My boys watched the movie at two different play dates.  Then we borrowed it from our library.  When they still couldn't get enough, I searched out every dragon picture book known to man and filled our lunchtimes with dragon-y goodness.  Matthew and I are still working our way through the first chapter book in Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon series -- the books that inspired the movie.  It's a little rough around the edges, making me cringe with names like Snotlout, Dogsbreath, and the like, but Matthew is loving it.

What are your family's dragon loving favorites?


  1. I did not know there were even that many picture books about dragons. My kids are so deprived.

    1. Haha - I'm sure they are very deprived.


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