April 28, 2015

Book Review || Kenny & the Dragon

Kenny & the Dragon
Tony DiTerlizzi (illustrated by author)

Published: 22 September 2008

Simon & Schuster, hardcover, 160p.
ISBN: 9781416939771

What do you do when your new best buddy has been designated a scourge by the community and marked for imminent extermination?

Just ask Kenny Rabbit.

When the simple folks in the sleepy little village of Roundbrook catch wind that there's a dragon running loose in the countryside, they get the wrong idea and the stage is set for a fight to the death. So it's up to Kenny to give his neighbors front-row seats to one of the best-known battles in history - the legendary showdown between St. George and the dragon - without losing a friend in the fray.

Kenneth is a little rabbit with a very big problem. His two best friends are heading for a battle of legendary proportions - with each other! In one corner there's Grahame, a well-read and cultured dragon, with sophisticated tastes and no stomach for battle. In the other, there's George, a retired knight and dragon slayer who would be content to spend the rest of his days in his bookshop with a pipe and a good book. But when the townsfolk catch wind there's a dragon running loose in the countryside, and call George out of retirement, the stage is set. And it's up to Kenny to avert disaster. A fun-filled, thoroughly theatrical spin on a classic tale of subterfuge and showmanship. 

Found this book in a thrift shop for $1 and couldn't resist.  I love all things dragons, and when it is combined with a gorgeous cover and sketch illustrations... well, I had to buy it.

The story follows the shy and introverted, Kenny, who is a bookworm at heart.  He doesn't really have friends at school, and when his father comes rushing home to inform the family that a mean and vile dragon has moved into the neighbourhood what does Kenny do?  He consults a book. 

It is this kind of atypical behaviour in our main character that I found endearing.  As a bookworm myself, I find it is a trait not often portrayed in a positive light.  DiTerlizzi however, manages to make this part of the charm of the book. 

Like most good children's books there is a moral, or two, that shine through and the main thoughts I took away from Kenny & the Dragon were

a) never believe everything you hear/read
b) never judge a book by it's cover

I won't go into where, or how, these morals are implied as that just might spoil the book for you.  But there is a real undertone in this book that shines through and a good example to use in a discussion with children about how not to judge people, and why you shouldn't believe everything just because it is printed in a book.

As with most fantasy books there is some action - a dragon-slayer is called upon to rid the town of the vile dragon! - but rest assured, it is not scary, and I would have no hesitation in recommending it to parents of young kids. 

On to the artwork.  The author has generously dotted sketches throughout the book.  A small character study here, a full page there.  They are so adorable.  Kenny, this scrawny little rabbit is so sweetly drawn that you just want to pat him (I used to have a pet rabbit and it brought back all the feels).  Grahame is not your typical dragon and the dragon-slayer riding in in all his glory was just delightful.

This is my first book by Diterlizzi, and I found it to be smashing.  Will definitely be checking out The Spiderwick Chronicles.

My rating:

Hope you enjoyed this review.  I would love any recommendations for similar books so please leave any suggestions in the comment area below.

Until next time,

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