Kenny & the Dragon

by Tony DiTerlizzi (2008)

An Intro and Sweet Spot selection.

There are different ways to tell a dragon story. Tony DiTerlizzi knows this. Looking for knights and armor and fair maidens? Fire-breathing and flying? Medieval tales of derring-do? Kenny and the Dragon has a little of this. But it is really about something else…

It’s a story about friendship. It’s about confounding expectations. And it’s about really liking crème brûlée. Seriously.

Kenny and the Dragon expands the genre of Dragon-and-Knight tales. First of all, this dragon is sophisticated, educated, cosmopolitan, and even witty. He loves poetry, Shakespeare, classical piano, painting, sunsets, and fine dining – far from the terrifying beasts of other dragon stories. Students and families will be charmed by Grahame (“like the cracker”), just as bookish Kenny Rabbit and his family are. But it takes the finely wrought DiTerlizzi tale to win over the townspeople of Roundbrook, the charming village where Kenny lives. The citizens are quick to judge Grahame as dangerous, and they cheer on George, the local bookstore owner turned dragon slayer. He reassures them, saying, “For when the sun sets tomorrow night, this monster, this devil, this beastly scourge, will be smitten from your land!” Fear not! Once George meets Grahame and they bond over poetry, Kenny devises a plan to stage a grand stage spectacle to save Grahame and win an invitation to the royal court.

With DiTerlizzi’s trademark whimsical illustrations and a rollicking story, Kenny and the Dragon will captivate even the youngest listeners. And the story will open up conversations about misjudging people you don’t know. Grahame’s widely varied interests make this a book chock-full of enriching extension activities for classes to enjoy. Students can make a Bestiary, paint sunsets, play chess. They may even want to memorize a poem or two! You can celebrate your school-wide reading program with some delicious crème brûlée or Austrian lattice pie!

Come for the Dragons, Damsels, Knights, and Wizards. But stay for the touching story of deep friendship and understanding.

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