A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon (Hamster Princess) mixes comic book panels and text to create the comedic adventures of young dragon Danny and his iguana friend, Wendell. While Danny's up for anything that will help him put off doing his schoolwork, Wendell is cautious and loyal, and loves a school project with lots of homework. There's a lovely amount of happy magic in these books -- such as breath mints that let them breathe underwater for hours at a time -- but some serious moments, too. Danny struggles to breathe fire, his parents struggle with having a child who can't master one of the fundamental aspects of dragonhood, and readers will empathize with Danny when the school bully appears.
What's the story?
The star of the DRAGONBREATH series, Danny, is a dragon who hasn't managed to master breathing fire. Through curiosity or procrastination or the occasional kidnapping, fearless Danny and his best friend, a cautious iguana named Wendell, have good-natured, educational, life-threatening adventures. The boys are sometimes around their school and neighborhood, but most often they use the local bus that behaves oddly around Danny. The bus will deliver Danny and Wendell to an old Austrian castle or remote beach, and always appears to pick them up as soon as they're done. Wendell's knowledge usually saves the day, but Danny's daredevil attitude plays a role every time.
Is it any good?
It's a rare book that can be both entertaining and educational for young readers, and the Dragonbreath series nails this combination. It takes readers on riveting adventures with danger and slimy moats and giant ice worms and a sassy dragon, all while weaving in facts about science, history, and more. The life lessons are equally important, though, as Danny learns to both accept his struggle with fire and to work harder at the academic work he claims not to enjoy. These hybrid graphic novels are fun to read, with great illustrations and humor on every page.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about what it's like for Danny to struggle with breathing fire in Dragonbreath. His parents are encouraging and supportive, but how does he feel about it? Do you think he understands that everyone struggles with something in life?
Wendell is often seen as a sidekick to the more gregarious Danny, but he has most of the information they need to stay alive on their adventures. Why do you think Wendell is the sidekick instead of Danny?
What do you think of the way Danny interacts with the school bully?
What other fun adventure books have you read? Are they realistic?
- Author: Ursula Vernon
- Illustrator: Ursula Vernon
- Genre: Adventure
- Topics: Dinosaurs, Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Science and Nature
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Puffin Books
- Publication date: September 13, 2012
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
- Number of pages: 160
- Available on: Paperback, Hardback, Kindle
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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