In the following scenario, Q is a boy, age 4½, accompanied by his mother, known here as Q(mom), and A is the children’s librarian. (btw: When Q says, “Guys!” he’s looking straight at the librarian. This is a bit unusual, but only because it’s plural. “Hey, you!” is more common.)
A: So, you don’t want one of those stories where the dragon turns out to be friendly, I see. You want to know about real, fierce dragons! Okay, I think we can find something. Tell me, would you prefer a short book with pictures, or a long book, without pictures?
Q: A long book with pictures!
A: In that case, the best one is: Dragonology by Drake. Here you are. It’s very thorough, and it doesn’t get bogged down with reality-based theories.
Q: …but TRUE, not pretend!
A: Probably the best one for that purpose is: Behold, the dragons! by Gibbons. This includes dragons from cultures all over the world, and in two succinct pages, respectfully presents the reality-belief-fantasy framework.
While you are looking at those two, I could also gather up some stories that are pretend, but have fierce dragons. Would you like that?
Q (mom): Absolutely!
Q: All right, I guess that’s okay.
A: These two books have the fiercest dragons. I warn you, they are ferocious! They should come with a parental guidance warning sticker! Saint George & the Dragon by Hodges and The Deliverers of their country by Nesbit & Zwerger.
Q: Great! We’ll take them.
Q (mom): Wait, there’s a severed arm in here, and a bloody sword…and this dragon is definitely dead at the end!
A: Before you go, there are a few more that I like very much, which you might consider taking with you as well:
Max’s Dragon – Banks, Polo and the Dragon – Faller, The Trouble with Dragons – Gliori, Again! – Gravett, Have You Seen My Dragon – Light, When a Dragon Moves In – Moore, How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head – Peet, Room on the Broom – Scheffler & Donaldson, A Gold Star for Zog - Scheffler & Donaldson, The Seven Chinese Sisters – Tucker, George and the Dragon – Wormell, Dragon Prince: A Chinese Beauty & the Beast Tale – Yep (folktale section)
A: Choose a few to take home, if you like. We have lots more, there are tons! You can do a search in our online catalog if you want more picture books about dragons, and if you ever want to read chapter books about dragons, there are SO many!
You know one of my favorite books of all time is My Father’s Dragon by Gannett. If you ever change your mind and want a pretend story about a friendly dragon, that’s a chapter book with pictures, you gotta try it!
Q: Do you know, guys, I’m going to be a dragon for Halloween!
A: That’s great! See you again soon.