Thursday, June 11, 2009

Review: Dragonbreath

Summary: It’s not easy for Danny Dragonbreath to be the sole mythical creature in a school for reptiles and amphibians—especially because he can’t breathe fire like other dragons (as the school bully loves to remind him). But having a unique family comes in handy sometimes, like when his sea-serpent cousin takes Danny and his best iguana friend on a mindboggling underwater tour, complete with vomiting sea cucumbers and giant squid. It sure beats reading the encyclopedia to research his ocean report . . .

Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters with a penchant for getting themselves into sticky situations. It’s perfect for both the classroom and the Wimpy Kid set. -- Dial

Since I have a nine-year old daughter, I'm always anxious to see what's new in Middle Grade books. The latest book that I've read is DRAGONBREATH written and illustrated by Ursula Vernon. I'm not sure that I'm the best judge of middle-grade books because they aren't really geared towards me, but I have to say that I really liked DRAGONBREATH. I thought the characters were cute, the story was interesting, and the book was really funny -- I think it's just perfect for middle grade readers!

What I really liked about this book was that it was a mix of a comic book and a regular old book. I think the comic panels are very well done, and kids are going to really like switching between the pictures and the normal text. I thought the drawings definitely enhanced the fantasy aspect of the story, and I loved the pictures of the characters on their under-sea adventure. Even the most reluctant of readers should appreciate this story given that it has many comic panels and fairly large text.

I found DRAGONBREATH to be a very cute and entertaining story, yet it also had parts that were actually educational. I think kids will not only laugh a lot at this story and the characters (namely Wendell whom I found to be just adorable), but they will also love the bits of science that are thrown in. I especially enjoyed reading about Danny and Wendell's tour of the ocean and also learning about the various sea creatures. I also liked that the author included some positive messages about bullying, self-confidence, and perseverence.

DRAGONBREATH is the first book in a series, and I wouldn't hesitate to read more stories about Danny and his crazy adventures. I think that these books are going to be a big hit with young boys, especially those around 8 to 10 years old; however, I also think there are plenty of girls who are going to love these characters too. I really liked that the end of this book gave a few teasers about the next book in the series, namely that there will be ninja frogs. And what kid can resist an adventure with a dragon and iguana that includes ninja frogs?

Here are some of Booking Daughter's thoughts about DRAGONBREATH:

I really liked the parts of the book that took place underwater. Some things really made me laugh like when the characters took "breath" mints so they could breathe underwater and when they kept running into scary sea creatures. I thought Danny's friend Wendell was really funny especially when he was underwater because he was always nervous.

Thanks to Dial Books for sending me a copy of DRAGONBREATH.


bermudaonion said...

I think Vance would have loved a book like that! It sounds like a lot of fun! I love to see what Booking Daughter thinks of a book.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Oh my goodness...this is the perfect book for my son! Adding it to his wishlist!

Shelly B said...

I have this one to review as well. I'm glad you liked it; great review! I haven't been able to get into graphic novels, but this may be the perfect segway into those b/c of the mix of pics and text.

Beth F said...

Sounds like a good one to keep on my gift list for the youngsters in our extended family.

Anonymous said...

I think my daughter would love this. She's 9, too, and LOVES dragons.

Gwendolyn B. said...

This would be perfect for my nephew. He's finished the Wimpy Kid books and with summer coming, he needs some more fun books. This is going on my shopping list right now!