Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum, Lee Wildish | | Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Thomas and the Dragon Queen

Thomas and the Dragon Queen

3.7 10
by Shutta Crum, Lee Wildish

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A kingdom is at war.
A princess has been kidnapped by a dragon queen.
A brave squire volunteers to set out on a quest to rescue her.
But there's just one small problem. He's Thomas, the shortest of all the squires. With little more than a donkey, a vest, and a sword, Thomas will have to use all of his courage and determination to battle a beast with many


A kingdom is at war.
A princess has been kidnapped by a dragon queen.
A brave squire volunteers to set out on a quest to rescue her.
But there's just one small problem. He's Thomas, the shortest of all the squires. With little more than a donkey, a vest, and a sword, Thomas will have to use all of his courage and determination to battle a beast with many heads, reach a forbidden island, and rescue the princess from a most fearsome dragon-and an even more fearsome fate!
Part thrilling adventure and part enchanting fantasy, sprinkled with charming black-and-white illustrations, Thomas and the Dragon Queen will delight young readers from start to finish.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3–5—In this medieval tale, pint-size Thomas, 12, finds that he has been elevated from squire to knight against all odds. To put it simply, he's too young, tiny, and inexperienced for such an important position. He can't even hold a proper sword. Yet the king has requested that he liberate the princess from the clutches of the feared dragon queen: all the big knights are off battling the enemy. Thomas sets off on old Bartholomew the donkey because he's too short for a horse. He learns that he must defeat a monster along the way, one that has sent many a good warrior to his grave. In a quest that is full of peril and adventure, Thomas must face everyone's worst nightmare: Does he have what it takes? This endearing story is both heartwarming and full of surprises. Thomas learns that a boy cannot be judged by his size or his intentions, but by the decisions he makes and the trials he must overcome. What sets this story apart from other knightly tales are the unusual size of the hero, the tools—or lack of tools—he has for fighting evil, and the delightful events awaiting him once he finds the princess. Expressive illustrations, many of them spreads, accompany each chapter. Memorable characters enrich the realm by giving purpose to the hero's ordeal. This is a must-read.—Robyn Gioia, Bolles School, Ponte Vedra, FL
Publishers Weekly
Small in stature yet stout of heart, Thomas leaves his large, loving family to be a page in the King's Company. When his peers at the castle mock him for his size and lack of abilities, the 12-year-old becomes more determined than ever to prove his mettle and earn his knighthood. After two years of training, the king knights Thomas and sends him on a perilous quest to rescue his daughter, who has been abducted by an allegedly fearsome dragon queen. Crum's (Thunder-Boomer!) adventure kicks into high gear as Thomas sets off for the dragon's remote island. En route the earnest boy overcomes his self-doubt about his skills and bravery to slay a vicious sea monster. The tale's tone lightens appreciably when Thomas reaches the dragon queen's island, where the kidnapped princess has been put to work as nursemaid to the unexpectedly benign beast's brood of endearing "dragonlets." Wildish's (Jacob O'Reilly Wants a Pet) high-spirited b&w cartoons enhance the ample action and humor of this taut fantasy, which culminates in Thomas's triumphant homecoming. Ages 7-10. (July)

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

chapter 1

Thomas staggered through the clearing gripping one of his arms. “Arrgh,” he moaned. Then he collapsed in the grass, kicking his feet in the air and pretending to wrestle with a sea monster. Around him eight of his brothers and sisters clapped their hands or complained, “That’s not how it happened!”

Their da had told a particularly good tale last night about a wounded knight who had managed, with his dying breath, to kill a sea beast. The next day the little ones had begged Thomas to act out the story. He did not mind doing this, for it gave him a chance to think about what to do if he should ever really come face to face with a sea monster, or what to do if he had only one breath left to live. Furthermore, he’d used the request to get his brothers and sisters to promise that they’d follow him to the river afterward.

It was now warm enough to bathe in the river, and Thomas, as the eldest, was in charge of their much-needed summer scrubbing-up. After shushing all arguments about his retelling of Da’s tale, he put baby Isabel on her bottom in the middle of the ankle-deep stream and then got busy chasing down several others to get them washed.

From behind him he heard Isabel cry, “Horsey!”

“We left your toy at home, Izzy,” he called over his shoulder as he made a grab for his dirtiest little brother, Peter.

“Horsey!” The little girl giggled.

It was a new word for Isabel, who’d just gotten a carved wooden horse from their father. Since she used the word often, Thomas did not bother to look when she laughed and said, “Horsey!” a third time.

It was not until another sister pointed toward the stream and cried, “There’s a knight!” that Thomas turned and saw a great black warhorse coming quickly around the bend of the rocky riverbed. It was bearing down upon his baby sister. The knight on its back seemed to be looking down, not ahead of him where Isabel sat in the shallow water and clapped joyfully.

“Is-a-bel!” screamed Thomas as he let Peter loose and raced toward the riverbed. “Stop!” Thomas shouted at the knight. He waved his arms frantically.

The knight did not look up; instead, he lurched in his saddle and almost fell off.

He can’t hear me! Thomas felt his heart tearing in two. He flew toward his sister—but there were boulders and tree roots in the way. He’d never make it in time. She’d be trampled. “Is-a-bel!”

“Horsey!” She pointed. “Me want.” Her hands opened and closed as she leaned toward the oncoming animal.

Thomas’s shin smacked against a boulder and he went tumbling headfirst over it. He scrambled back up. As he did, he grabbed a stone and hurled it with all his might at the horse, and missed. He was limping now, and he moaned as he grabbed another large stone. He saw his brother Albert and his sister Margaret racing toward Isabel as well. They would not make it in time. His arm arced back and the stone shot forward. It hit the horse on its muzzle.

The horse reared—its big hooves almost above Isabel’s head, its mane, as black as midnight, whipping back—and a high-pitched eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee split the air.

Isabel’s lower lip quivered. She screwed up her face and bellowed a cry of baby-temper that echoed the horse’s cry of panic. “Ah . . . eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

The knight slipped sideways into the stream, and the frightened animal bolted up the opposite bank—nostrils flaring and eyes rolling. Snorting and stamping, it got tangled in the brambles along the bank.

Thomas bent forward and grabbed at his side. He tried to catch his breath and thought he was going to be sick. A second later, he raised his head and saw his baby sister safe, but bawling big disappointed tears as she turned on her bottom to watch the horse. Her little hands were still opening and closing—demanding, Give me. The knight, perhaps knocked to his senses by the fall, was struggling to rise.

Meet the Author

SHUTTA CRUM writes books for children and poetry for adults. She is also a storyteller, a lecturer, and a librarian. In 2005, she was honored by being one of eight authors invited to the White House for the annual Easter Egg Roll. She was born in Paintsville, Kentucky, and now lives on a farm in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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