The Discovery of Dragons

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
The Discovery of Dragons Book Poster Image
Gorgeous art and scaled-up humor for tweens up.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Several people are humorously killed, mostly by dragons.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this may be in picture book format, but it's geared toward tweens and teens. Younger children won't get the humor and may be frightened by some of the dragon paintings. Several deaths are mentioned, mostly from encounters with dragons.

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What's the story?

A mock scientific book on the history of dragon discoveries, this is written in the form of letters from and commentary on various explorers, large paintings with plate descriptions, inset maps and size comparisons, and small comic-strip timelines.

Included are chapters on Bjorn of Bromme, a navigationally impaired Viking; Soong Mei Ying, a young Chinese girl who is more daring than she seems; Dr. E. F. Liebermann, a crackpot explorer in Africa; and Francisco de Nuevo, a runaway conquistador.

This \"Eleventh Anniversary Edition\" includes a new chapter on New World dragons, Introduction, Publisher's Notes, Afterword, and Afterafterword.

Is it any good?

This hilarious and gorgeously illustrated large-format book is written at a very high level, with sophisticated humor and references that will need to be explained to kids. But you'll be having so much fun that you won't mind a bit.

While the paintings of dragons are arresting (though the decision to have them extend an inch or two past the fold was a poor one) and the text witty, kids will especially enjoy perusing the comic strips at the bottom of each spread. The entire book, including flap copy, dedication, and Publisher's Notes, is one big goof, and will reward the time spent investigating every corner of this delightful volume. Don't be surprised if you enjoy it even more than your kids do.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the very sophisticated humor. What is going on with Marty Fibblewitz? What's so funny about the title of the song about the Japanese Dragon? What's going on with Liebermann's medications, writing, and cousin?

Book details

  • Author: Graeme Base
  • Illustrator: Graeme Base
  • Genre: Humor
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Abrams
  • Publication date: September 1, 2007
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 8 - 12
  • Number of pages: 42
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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