The Ice Dragon

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
The Ice Dragon Book Poster Image
Beautifully illustrated dragon fantasy is short but intense.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Fantasy and meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive Messages

You can't abandon your family in times of need. Family members look out for and protect one another. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

After planning to leave her home to go north with the ice dragon, Adara, who's about 7, makes the right decision in her family's hour of need. Her father loves his children and is a good provider. He's also close to his brother, and they model responsible, brave behavior, although it's mentioned that he gave Adara a beating in the past.


Short battles and fights. There's no blood or gore, but dying soldiers and dragons are mentioned, with some injuries such as burns and broken dragon wings described. Illustrations show what appears to be a dead warrior without blood or gore, a long line of wounded soldiers with stained bandages, and some intense moments such as meeting a huge, fierce dragon. A past beating is mentioned. Adara's mother died in childbirth and an illustration shows her in bed, apparently in labor. Some illustrations of dragons are intense. In the past, Adara stepped on a nail and left a trail of blood in the snow.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine's mentioned several times, as is a period when Adara's father drank heavily. Adara overhears him talking in a voice "thick with wine."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Ice Dragon is a new edition of a story first published in 2006 by famed fantasy author George R. R. Martin. There's some fantasy violence involving dragon battles, a past beating is mentioned, and the father turns to drinking during hard times. Otherwise there's nothing of concern here from the author whose Song of Ice and Fire series inspired the violence- and sex-filled TV series A Game of Thrones. This story's set in the same universe as A Game of Thrones, but it's a different time period and doesn't have any of the same characters. Some of the lavish illustrations are intense, but there's no blood or gore.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJane P. July 9, 2018

Short but exciting story

This short novel is wonderfully written! Really captured my daughters imagination. Pretty intense and can be scary in parts. It has references to a war and desc... Continue reading
Adult Written byMelo7 February 23, 2019

Bloated dead bodies and heads split by axes.

My 7 year old came home with it from the library. The first page I opened it to had a pretty horrific description of a head split open by an axe, and the smell... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 12, 2015

Beautifully written book with amazing illustrations

Fantasy has never been my thing. I've always read those dystopian ya novels that are CSM 13s or 14s. But this book just blew my mind. Any other author and... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPleasantly Surp... August 22, 2019

A sharp new edge to wonderful books by G.R.R Martin

This book is for days when there's no other book lying around, you see it hidden away, open it, and find yourself in a whole new world. It was so amazing i... Continue reading

What's the story?

Adara's always been different from everyone else. She's more comfortable and happy during the cold of winter when most people want to huddle by the fire. When she befriends a rare ice dragon, she decides she wants to leave her home and go live with the ice dragon far away to the north. But war has come to her homeland, and when enemy dragon riders turn on the family farm, Adara has to decide between leaving to live out her dream or staying behind to defend her home.

Is it any good?

THE ICE DRAGON is an engaging, if brief, dragon fantasy. The gorgeous illustrations, along with every aspect of the book's design, including the beautiful illustrated type, are what make it a satisfying experience, given that the story itself is so short and ends rather abruptly.

Dragon lovers, especially elementary and middle schoolers, will be enchanted with Adara and her magnificent ice dragon. The heirloom-quality presentation ensures that it'll be a pleasure to revisit many times.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why fantasy books, especially with dragons, are so popular. Why do we love to read them so much?

  • Did you like the illustrations? Did they help you picture the people and events of the story, or would you rather be able to use your imagination?

  • Why do you think Adara turned back for home when she was so close to realizing her dream of living with the ice dragon?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fantasy

Themes & Topics

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