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Merlin and the Dragons

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Young King Arthur, troubled by nightmares, doubts he is the rightful king of England. One rainy night, the wizard Merlin tells Arthur the story of dueling dragons and a fateful clash between good and evil, which reveals the surprising secret of the boy king's true legacy. Li Ming's arresting oil paintings breathe fire into this magical offering from Jane Yolen. "The legend comes alive on a grand scale, the dramatic narrative and well-wrought dialogue heightening the theatrical effect and inviting a fast-paced ...
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Overview

Young King Arthur, troubled by nightmares, doubts he is the rightful king of England. One rainy night, the wizard Merlin tells Arthur the story of dueling dragons and a fateful clash between good and evil, which reveals the surprising secret of the boy king's true legacy. Li Ming's arresting oil paintings breathe fire into this magical offering from Jane Yolen. "The legend comes alive on a grand scale, the dramatic narrative and well-wrought dialogue heightening the theatrical effect and inviting a fast-paced read-aloud." -- School Library Journal

When young Arthur is troubled by dreams, Merlin tells him a story about a fatherless boy who himself dreamed about dragons and the defeat of the evil king Vortigern.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Young King Arthur finds the adjustment from being a fatherless boy to the leader of men troublesome; he believes he is not worthy. Arthur seeks out Merlin to explain his troubling dreams. Through an exciting and poignant tale, Merlin reveals to the young king both his roots and his destiny. Yolen is a master storyteller; Li Ming's full-page color illustrations bring the story to life.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-Drawing once again upon Arthurian legend, Yolen has created a stirring tale within a tale. Young Arthur wakes one stormy night from uneasy dreams and seeks out the company of Merlin. Sensing the boy's readiness to learn of his legacy in claiming the crown he wears without conviction, Merlin tells him of another fatherless boy, Emrys, who dreamed baffling dreams of dragons and crumbling stone towers. When the cruel Vortigern attempted to take over all of Britain, Emrys's dreams became prophetic and catalytic. Merlin ends his tale cryptically, as a certain knight advances toward Vortigern's tower. When Arthur cries out for a proper ending, Merlin draws him into the story and it becomes revelatory-at last he is able to call the crown his own. Yolen goes beyond her sources-folklore and history-and moves expertly into the realm of invention. Matched with arresting oil paintings, the legend comes alive on a grand scale, the dramatic narrative and well-wrought dialogue heightening the theatrical effect and inviting a fast-paced read-aloud. Some of Ming's illustrations are magnificent, those of the dragons in particular. One can sense this talented artist's respect for these creatures as he brings them fully to life-terrifying, violent, beautiful. So, too, does he paint Arthur with great sensitivity, a figure bathed in light, his face complex, thoughtful, and full of wonder. Although all the pictures serve the story well and elevate the drama, some seem a bit flat and overexplicit, without the pulsing life and radiance that characterizes those that are invested with emotion and are remarkable for their power.-Susan Powers, Rock Creek Forest Elementary School, Chevy Chase, MD
Linda Ward-Callaghan
Young King Arthur, troubled by bad dreams and by doubts about his right to be king, seeks out Merlin, who unfolds a tale of young Emrys, another lonely boy whose troubling dreams foretold the defeat of cruel King Vortigern by Uther Pendragon, Arthur's true father. When a battle tower Vortigern had forced the Welsh to build collapses three times, Emrys, hauled before the king, reveals his vision of two dragon stones sleeping beneath the mountain. Unearthed, a red dragon and a white one rise in fierce battle. When the white prevails, Emrys knows that it symbolizes Vortigern's coming defeat. In this picture book for older readers, double-page spreads provide a broad field for Li Ming's handsome oil paintings. He achieves drama both through changing perspectives and by contrasting the somber grays and browns of the mountain and stones with reds and golds in the firelight of Merlin's tower room, in Vortigern's red dragon banners and livery, and in the splendid scenes of the battling dragons. Yolen's text evokes both the enchantment of the tale and wry humor. While satisfying in its own right, this tale within a tale also enriches young readers' understanding of Arthurian lore by weaving the familiar sword-in-the-stone story with threads of Merlin's own youth taken from Welsh legend.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780780786066
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/28/1998
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 8 - 11 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jane Yolen
Jane Yolen
JaneYolen lives in Massachusetts.

John Schoenherr lives in New Jersey.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have had this book for years! This has been one of my family's favorite childrens books. The images are gorgeous and the story is both exciting and historically interesting. Kids can learn about King Arthur, Merlin, dragons, knights, the Middle Ages, and they can enjoy a fantastic adventure. I've read to a whole group of Renaissance campers and they loved it! Beautiful beautiful book!

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