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Flight of the Last Dragon

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Overview

What if there was but one dragon left in the world?

What if dragons were more than just imaginary creatures? What if long ago they soared through our skies? And what if there was only one dragon left? Where might it hide from our machines, from our technology, from us? And where would it go if it spread its wings for one last flight?

New York Times bestselling writer Robert Burleigh and Harry Potter artist Mary GrandPre answer these questions ...

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Overview

What if there was but one dragon left in the world?

What if dragons were more than just imaginary creatures? What if long ago they soared through our skies? And what if there was only one dragon left? Where might it hide from our machines, from our technology, from us? And where would it go if it spread its wings for one last flight?

New York Times bestselling writer Robert Burleigh and Harry Potter artist Mary GrandPre answer these questions by taking us on one last great journey into the starry night. Read this book with a child and wait for the inevitable moment when he looks to the sky . . . and wonders.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Burleigh and GrandPré blend the ancient and the contemporary in this bittersweet portrait of the former king of the dragons, who now hides alone in the sewers of a city: “Weak, alone,/ He wades in the slime,/ Lost in dreams/ Of a long-ago time.” Burleigh’s rhymed four-line stanzas are pitch-perfect and filled with intriguing images; remembering a time when dragons “breathed hot flames/ In jewel-filled caves,” Ultimon says, “And I am left/ With thoughts that pass/ Like grains of sand/ In an hourglass.” GrandPré’s illustrations offer a painful contrast between the glories of dragons past and Ultimon’s current enfeebled state, with tattered wings, a walking stick, and a broken horn. Lest Ultimon’s story gets too depressing, Burleigh and GrandPré conspire to create a triumphant finale in which Ultimon is transformed into a glittering, golden dragon—his wings resembling flames more than feathers—as he finds the strength to fly one last time and gains a permanent home in the sky; an afterword gives details about the constellation Draco. A melancholy but moving story of finding one’s way home after the world has changed. Ages 3–7. (Oct.)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—A fanciful poem about the last of the dragons, Ultimon, who becomes the constellation Draco. In a modern-day city, Ultimon lives alone in the sewers, worn and sad, dreaming of his former glory. One night he emerges and begs the universe to take pity on him, and he hears a faint call from the sky. He gathers his strength for one final flight and takes his place among the stars. The story of the last dragon secretly coexisting in the contemporary world is compelling, and GrandPré's illustrations do a lovely job juxtaposing the mythological and metropolitan elements. Her expressive paintings-full of sad, cool blues, purples, and greens until they explode with warmth as Ultimon takes his triumphant place in the sky-draw viewers into the dragon's world. The formal, old-fashioned style of the poetry is reminiscent of epics such as Longfellow's "Hiawatha," and reads aloud well; however, the quality of the verse is uneven and relies heavily on exclamation points to convey the mood rather than trusting the content of the writing. While there are some nice similes, there are also some glaring clichés: "Hot tears rain down!/Sobs Ultimon:/I knew them all!/Now all are gone!/And I am left/With thoughts that pass/Like grains of sand/In an hourglass." Despite its flaws, high-fantasy lovers of all ages will enjoy this book.—Anna Haase Krueger, formerly at Antigo Public Library, WI
Kirkus Reviews
The high-interest topic of this picture book about "the last dragon" fails to realize its full potential. Ultimon is the name of the titular last dragon, and he lives a pitiful existence in the sewers and subway tunnels of a contemporary city. Dreaming of the glory days of the past when other dragons "Ruled the waves / And breathed hot flames / In jewel-filled caves," Ultimon mourns his solitary, pathetic life. Trite phrasing delivered in rhyme describes his plight as he laments, "And I am left / With thoughts that pass / Like grains of sand / In an hourglass." Hoisting himself up and out of a manhole, he begs for pity and hears a voice calling to him from the heavens. He follows the cry, flying up to the stars and taking his place amid the constellations. Closing text asks readers to find "Draco, / The dragon star," with accompanying art highlighting one bright yellow star in the sky. The afterword directs attention to the constellation Draco, which, unfortunately, is not easily discerned in the aforementioned closing art of the book proper with its yellow star. The illustrations throughout the picture book, however, do much to elevate the story as a whole, with lush, full-bleed acrylic paintings that will delight dragon aficionados. A title with appeal for readers interested in dragons, this picture book doesn't quite live up to other offerings with similar themes. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399252006
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 10/11/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 529,239
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.10 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Burleigh lives in Chicago, Illinois, and is the author of many acclaimed picture book biographies of sports stars.

Mary GrandPre lives in Sarasota, Florida, and is best known as the cover illustrator for the mega-hit Harry Potter series.

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Customer Reviews

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2012

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