Wednesday, September 25, 2013

12 of Our Favorite Dragon Picture Books

Dragons and knights are commonly connected to the Feast of Michaelmas, which is coming up soon at the end of September. In honor of that day, since we are already huge fans of dragons in this house, I thought we might share with you some of our favorite children's picture books featuring dragons + knights. 

Though the dragon in the Michaelmas celebrations is, of course, the devil and therefore, evil, most of the dragons to be found in these stories are rather nice, kind, and even a bit silly. And, of course, they are perfect for any day of the year when you're in need of a good dragon tale.

Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges + illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Obviously perfect for the feast of St. George in April, this book is a true good versus evil dragon story. A favorite on our shelves, it is a beautifully illustrated and wonderfully retold version of the classic St. George tale. My 3 year old will sit through the whole story, but it is rather long, so keep that in mind when planning to read aloud to littles.

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin + illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
This past summer, this book definitely made our "read 1000 times" list. The boys think it hilarious, and I have to admit, it is rather clever. It answers the what, why, and how questions about what dragons love (tacos, obviously), why they don't love salsa, and how much they truly do love tacos and taco parties, for that matter. Disclaimer: it does use the word "hate" frequently, so if you're holding off having that a part of your kiddO's vocal, prepare to substitute.

The Knight and the Dragon by Tomie dePaola
Knights fight dragons - it is age old fact. Mr. dePaola puts a spin on the ancient expectations with a tale of a knight and dragon who each prepare to fight, and then decide to cooperate and work together instead with a surprising and fun end twist. And of course, the illustrations are by one of our very favorite, so what's not to love?

The Bravest Knight by Mercer Mayer
This book is more about knights than dragons, but it's still a favorite, so I had to include it. A little boy dreams about living "1000 years ago" and his daydreams take him to working as a squire for a brave knight. They do fight and vanquish the dragon, but when they get to the troll... let's just say the little boy decides he's glad he doesn't live 1000 years ago.
There is implied death, but no actual showing of it in the illustrations.

The great, great, great, great, great, great, great-grandson of King Arthur is turning six and figures it's about time to show off his stuff. So, off on a journey he sets. He challenges one beast after another (one of which is a dragon), and they take his "fight to the death" approach in a different way ready for a game of chess, a smoke ring blowing contest, and a staring contest. After realizing he wants more, each one sends him to a more fearsome match. Finally, he realizes that though he has yet to conquer any beasts, he has made several new friends.

Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-el + illustrated by Tim Bowers
This definitely falls into the "silly" category and is another one that had my boyOs laughing. Crispin Blaze is turning 7 and should be finally able to breathe fire, but when he opens his mouth to try, everything but comes out. First bubbles, then band-aids, and whole line up of silly objects. At the beginning his parents are both worried and embarrassed by their son's lack of dragon talent, but by the end, they are so proud of his super special ways.

Too Hot to Hug! by Steve Smallman + illustrated by Cee Biscoe
Rupert is out gathering firewood one day when he discovers a glowing and warm egg. Bringing it home to show his parents, they discover it's a dragon who is warm and cuddly to touch. Crumpet becomes a part of the family keeping them all warm through the winter, but when warmer weather approaches, Crumpet starts getting too hot to hug. Thankfully, Rupert finds a solution, so Crumpet can stay with them.

When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore + illustrated by Howard McWilliam
A little boy's imagination goes wild as he builds a sandcastle on a family trip to the beach, and of course, a dragon moves in. They roast marshmallows, fly kites, and enjoy an all around great day together. One thing to note: the boy does do a few things (i.e. throw sand at his sister) that he then blames on the imaginary dragon, which was something I ended up talking to my son about. The imagination part of the story is great though as the boy takes seagull feathers and other objects to use in his playing out.

A Dragon Moves In by Lisa Falkenstern
Another dragon moving in story - this time Rabbit + Hedgehog are enjoying a nice little picnic when all of a sudden the rock that Rabbit is sitting on starts to break open. Of course they bring the little guy home and discover that although their new friend is lots of fun, he also starts to grow and grow until he no longer fits in their house. They work together to find a solution though, and all is well. A sweet tale of friendship and working through problems.

Hush, Little Dragon by Boni Ashburn + illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Sung to the tune of "Hush, Little Baby" this book covers all the things a mama dragon might do to get her baby to go to sleep. I would say it could be on the darker side of humour since some of the baby dragon's treats include a couple of knights and a king, but there are no details illustrated, and if your child knows that dragons like to eat people, they probably will enjoy.

East Dragon, West Dragon by Robyn Eversole + illustrated by Scott Campbell
Two dragons live on opposite sides of the world. They've never met, but they've already made up their minds to dislike each other. The Western knights travel Eastward, and after a misunderstood fiasco end up writing to their own West Dragon to come rescue them. Thus East + West dragon meet, and they realize they don't dislike each other all that much and thus begins a beautiful friendship.

A child's basic beginning mythology book told in the beautiful illustrations of Eric Carle. Poems accompany fantastical pictures of dragons, unicorns, krackens, and the like. This is a great starter book to opening up the magical realm to your child's imagination. 

Are there any dragon books you would add to the list? What are your kid's favorites? Please share in the comments!


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This post 12 of Our Favorite Dragon Picture Books first appeared on Two Os Plus More on 25 September 2013 


  1. We love "The Knight and the Dragon" too - I love that we can read it quickly or slowly, since there are so few words but many pictures :)

    1. Isn't it the best? The lack of words had to be explained to my 3 year old since he caught on very fast that his parents each read it very differently. =p

  2. Check out "The Egg" and "The Great Dragon Rescue" by M. P. Robertson...super fun!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations- I hadn't heard of either of those before, but I'm adding them to my library list now!

  3. My boys are alllllll about dragons right now. They have been for about a year now. Love this list! Thank you! Have y'all read My Father's Dragon? It was recommended. My kids will do chapter books but was curious if you had read it yet and your thoughts :)


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