The Dragons Are Coming With the Circus! 10 Books to Introduce Kids To Them
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back in town, and this time they've brought dragons! Not real dragons because, you know, Obama, but their new show is dragon-themed and features a gigantic replica that is brought to life through the combined actions of the performers representing different tribes of dragon worshippers.
It looks amazing. In addition to there usual circus fare there's a focus on things like Shaolin and kung fu. All in all a fun time for the whole family. To celebrate, I thought I'd take a look back at some of the greatest children's and young adult dragon books you can use to pump up your offspring before they go see the giant fire-breathing robot facsimile.
Dragon of the Lost Sea: Laurence Yep wanted to bring Chinese mythology to young American audiences, and the result is an amazing adventure story. The water dragon Shimmer is on a quest to restore her aquatic kingdom that was dried up and contained in a pebble by a sorcereress. She gains an ally in an orphaned human boy, and the two learn to trust and accept one another in the face of terrible odds. It's an oft-times over looked series of books, but it's a quick fantasy read that you can get instantly into.
Dragon's Blood: Bar none this was my favorite book as a child, and probably the reason I like so much science fiction. On the desert planet of Austar a young slave boy named Jakkin hopes to steal a dragon from his employer in order to train it to fight in the gaming pits that serve as the planet's main tourist attraction. Now that I think of it it's something of a dark book, but the relationship between Jakkin and his dragon is a touching boy-meets-dog kind of story that serves as a primer for more mature reading later in life.
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: Jeremy Thatcher stumbles into a mysterious shop, and walks away with a dragon egg. He thinks it's just a novelty, but soon he has to deal with a young dragon that no one else can see. It's a magical little book that tugs on the heartstrings something awful when it's revealed his dragon must one day leave. Bruce Coville's book has stood the test of time and was a direct inspiration to...
Eragon: You might be familiar with Eragon from the movie that came out a few years back, which was very excellent by the way. Christopher Paolini uses Coville's basic premise but adds a grandiose epic trilogy aspect to it including pursuit by an evil king and a rebellion against his forces. If your kids aren't quite up to Lord of the Rings yet, Eragon is a good place to try and ease them into such works.
Farmer Giles of Ham: Speaking of Tolkien, there's nothing wrong with The Hobbit. It's a classic for a reason, and Smaug is not only a devastating force but a gift of a conversationalist villain. However, reading it leads to watching that overblown mess of a movie. I suggest instead one of Tolkien's shorter, more fairy tale works instead. Farmer Giles follows a local farmer who ends up leading a crusade against a thieving and cowardly dragon. It's a comic work that shows off Tolkien's playful side, and the light-heartedness of the telling is great for a snuggle-reading session in the chair.