A Dignity of Dragons

Overview

To catch a glimpse of one unicorn is lucky;
to see a grace of unicorns is to witness a marvel.
In this book, you will also find . . .

a riddle of sphinx,
a splash of mermaids,
a dignity of dragons,
and more.

With inventive groupings, ...

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Overview

To catch a glimpse of one unicorn is lucky;
to see a grace of unicorns is to witness a marvel.
In this book, you will also find . . .

a riddle of sphinx,
a splash of mermaids,
a dignity of dragons,
and more.

With inventive groupings, luminous artwork, and a fact-filled glossary, A Dignity of Dragons makes for a bestiary to treasure. For within its pages, you’ll learn about all the creatures you may be lucky enough to see, if you know where to look.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Ogburn's inventive collective nouns for fantasy creatures are brought to life in Ceccoli's dreamlike mixed-media illustrations. A "vengeance" of sharp-nosed (and topless) harpies descends in a stormy tableau of sea-spray and mist, near a "tangle" of gorgons and "chord" of sirens. Other scenes feature a "flurry of yetis" chasing children on skis, and a "cleverness of were-foxes," with female human faces and bushy tails. An appended list identifies each of the creatures, briefly describing their traits and symbolic significance. Ogburn's care in choosing her nouns is apparent, as is the craft behind Ceccoli's whimsical, well-composed scenes. Ages 5-8. (May)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
There are officially recognized collective nouns for creatures of nature, such as a school of fish or a pride of lions. Here, Ogburn has let her imagination and vocabulary loose to generate collective nouns for groups of thirty-six different beasts from myths and legends. Some are better known, like "a riddle of sphinx," "a splash of mermaids," "an avalanche of abominable snowmen," "a flurry of yetis," and "a thicket of Bigfoots." Others are more obscure, like a "dazzlement of Quetalcoatls" or a "judgment of kirin." In all cases, Ogburn's imaginative phrasing allows Ceccoli to visualize these mythical creatures in slick ways that may even produce chills. Double-page scenes often include svelte young females who observe the sometimes fierce interactions of flying, evil-looking birds and dragon-like creatures; they also may get involved as warriors on flying horses or oarsmen on a choppy sea. Mixed media supplies allow the artist to imagine freely and invent a neo-classical world. A score of creatures are introduced on the jacket, while the cover is simulated leather with cloth spine and corners showing a framed oval portrait of two almost-pretty dragons. A glossary describes the mythical characters and their origins. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Gorgeous mixed-media illustrations complement dozens of inventive collective nouns, among them a "bolt of hippogriffs," a "splash of mermaids," and a "dazzlement of Quetzalcoatls" as well as the eponymous "dignity of dragons." These creative descriptions comprise the only text in the book. A four-page glossary defines each fantastic creature and identifies the culture(s) of its origin. Ceccoli has created a stylized and luminous fantasyland energetically inhabited by Ogburn's enchanting bestiary. Fans of mythology and fantasy as well as budding lexophiles will savor this sophisticated picture book. A caveat for conservative collections: the mermaids, sphinx, and sirens are, collectively, a triad of the tastefully topless.—Amy Rowland, Shelter Rock Elementary School, Manhasset, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Ceccoli's art gives this companion to James Lipton's classic Exaltation of Larks ("ultimate edition" 1991) a distinctly and appropriately otherworldly look. Ogburn's evocative, self-invented collective terms for more than three-dozen magical creatures-such beasts as feng hwangs, quetzalcoatls and rainbow snakes join the usual Eurocentric suspects-float weightlessly on each spread next to groups of large-eyed, smoothly rounded humans and nonhumans awash in faint, subtle color changes. Every figure is pretty, but the illustrator staves off preciosity by injecting plenty of drama into her compositions-like a scary "riddle of sphinx" gazing down clinically on a small pilgrim or a ship of ancient design being attacked simultaneously by a "vengeance of harpies," a "tangle of gorgons" and a (bare-breasted) "chord of sirens." Enthralling fare for addicts of myth and fantasy, with short background notes on each type of creature at the end. (Picture book/reference. 11-15)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618862542
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Jacqueline K. Ogburn worked as an editor at New York publishing houses for a decade before moving to a new home in North Carolina, raising her children, and beginning a second career as a children's book author.


Nicoletta lives and works in San Marino, Italy. Awarded with the Andersen prize, "baia delle favole" as best Italian illustrator of the year in 2001, Nicoletta has also received the silver medal from the Society of Illustrators of New York.

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