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A Book of Dragons

A Book of Dragons

by Leonard Baskin, Hosie Baskin

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Assisted by his son Hosie, who collaborated with him on the Caldecott Honor Book Hosie's Alphabet, Baskin has created an enthralling gallery of beastly horrors that have niches in folklore throughout the world. In paintings with starkly contrasting dark and fiery colors, the artist portrays dragons who have captured the imaginations of people young and old, since olden times. Here is maddened Grendel, slain like her son by Beowulf; the monster who dared St. George once too often; the Tarasque, its vicious fires quenched by St. Martha when she sprinkles holy water on its head; Poland's Kraken; Japan's Susano; the awful Hydra et al. Hosie and his dad also introduce a couple of their own: the Fold-Up Dragon, a terrible coward, so retiring it has inspired no legends; and the Ghostly Dragon, ``very rare,'' a shadowy gray cloud glimpsed against a violet twilight sky. (All ages)
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up In 20 short encapsulated stories, the Baskins acquaint children with dragons from a diversity of cultures. Some of the stories are familiar: the slaying of the Hydra by Hercules, Grendel's mother by Beowulf and the nameless dragon by St. George. Others are more unusual: the Laidly Worm, who was Childe Wynd's enchanted sister; Fafnir, who was slain by Siegfried of Medieval Scandinavia; and the dragon slain by the Polish legendary figure Krak. Included also is Smaug, Tolkien's creation, and a couple that are purely Baskin originals. Readers, however, must have previous knowledge of which come from folklore and literature and which are vintage Baskin. While the stories are seldom more than a paragraph long, what is given will leave readers wanting to know more, as in the summation of the story of Jason and Medea slaying the dragon of Colchis: ``He and Medea returned to Thessaly with their prize and became king and queen, but they did not live happily ever after.'' However, no sources are given, either for the abbreviated stories or for further reading. The full-color paintings facing each description show the beasts almost jumping from the dark background and, in some cases, escaping the borders of the illustration. The glorious colors and richness of each painting portray these beasts in a new and masterful way. While there are other books about dragons, namely Manning-Sanders' Book of Dragons (Dutton, 1965; o.p.) and Spicer's Thirteen Dragons (Coward, 1974; o.p.), none is so sumptuously illustrated. Because of the text, though, it's better suited to classroom use than individual reading. Patricia Homer, Lowville School Library, N.Y.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

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