Wednesday, February 27, 2013


It has been quite some time since I have talked about a book I've read.  Mostly because it has been a while since I have done any serious reading, I'm sad to say.  (though, I have mentioned it a time or two)  However, I not only finished (and LOVED) this book, but I also did an oral book report on it.  There's something I had not done in a very long time.  I have told countless children about countless books over the years, but this was a full on book report.  With my weekly homeschool group we are having a 'thing'.  Not a contest, more of a reward project.  If they tell me, and the group about a book they have read, they get a prize and their name on the wall.  After they've done 5 the get a free ice cream via coupon donated by our local Dairy Queen.  None of them, I think, had ever done anything like this, and one of the Moms asked for help.  Her son loves to read, but had trouble telling her about what he had read.  So I devised a scheme to get him to work on his narrative skills, and lo, a group-wide book report project was born.  Obviously, I had to go first, to model this thing that I wanted them to do.  This is where Kenny comes in. 

I had bought Tony DiTerlizzi's Kenny and the Dragon at my son's school's book fair last year.  It is gorgeous.  We have it at the library, in multiple forms, but I had only started to read it, and had listened to a bit of the beginning of the audio version read by the fabulous Alan Cumming.  I wanted my own.  It was both a bargain and a good cause, so there we are.  I own one more fantastic, amazing book.  Happy happy.

Kenny is a dreamer.  He loves books, and doesn't really have any friends at school.  His best friend is a retired knight (George) who owns the book shop in the village.  One day Kenny's father, a farmer, bursts in to the kitchen and tells his wife and son that they must move, that he has seen a monster who will surely eat them and their livestock.  Kenny can hardly believe that his father has seen what must surely be a dragon, something he has read all about in books.  Curious, he sets out to see for himself.  He meets Grahame.  Grahame is about as different from the dragons Kenny has read about as he could be.  He has no interest in eating anyone.  He loves books, and poetry, and chess, just like Kenny.  He acknowledges that his long gone relatives may have been of a violent persuasion, but explains that that is why they got themselves killed all those years ago.  Grahame also loves good food, and Kenny's mother is a good cook.  The Rabbit family are soon good friends of Grahame's, and he often joins them for dinner. 

The problem comes when the villagers find out there is a dragon in their vicinity and the king asks George to come out of retirement to kill it.  When Kenny finds out that his best friend has been ordered to kill his new friend he is convinced that he must stop it.  If only George could meet Grahame, Kenny is certain that they will be friends and not kill each other.  But what about the villagers, and the King? 

As one of my boys would say "you'll have to read it yourself to find out what happens".  
Kenny and the Dragon is a wonderful re-telling of Kenneth Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon (you see what he did there with the names?).  There is even a reference to it, when George gives Kenny a book that he thinks he and Grahame will like "some fairy tale written by a British guy".  This book is fun.  It is beautifully illustrated, and beautifully told.  DiTerlizzi is an amazing artist and storyteller with a wonderful sense of humor.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough.  Though it is aimed at kids age 8-12, it would be an amazing read-aloud, and is a wonderful tale for any age, in my opinion.  If you read my blog, you will know that I recommend everyone read books for children, at least once in a while. 

I wrote a post about picture books for work today.  Have a look

On another note, after my last post, I was catching up on Laini Taylor's blog.  By golly if there wasn't a post that really spoke to me, and what I have been going through. If you don't know Laini and her blog, you really should.  She is not only an amazingly talented writer, but also an amazing resource for inspiration and writing advice.  She is amazing, have I said?   

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