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The Reluctant Dragon (Illustrated, with Audiobook links) (Dream Days 1)

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Dream Days is a collection of children's fiction and reminiscences of childhood written by Kenneth Grahame. A sequel to Grahame's 1895 collection The Golden Age (some of its selections feature the same family of five children), Dream Days was first published in 1898 under the imprint John Lane: The Bodley Head. (The first six selections in the book had been previously publ Dream Days is a collection of children's fiction and reminiscences of childhood written by Kenneth Grahame. A sequel to Grahame's 1895 collection The Golden Age (some of its selections feature the same family of five children), Dream Days was first published in 1898 under the imprint John Lane: The Bodley Head. (The first six selections in the book had been previously published in periodicals of the day—in the Yellow Book, the New Review, and in Scribner's Magazine in the United States.) The book is best known for its inclusion of Grahame's classic story The Reluctant Dragon.


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Dream Days is a collection of children's fiction and reminiscences of childhood written by Kenneth Grahame. A sequel to Grahame's 1895 collection The Golden Age (some of its selections feature the same family of five children), Dream Days was first published in 1898 under the imprint John Lane: The Bodley Head. (The first six selections in the book had been previously publ Dream Days is a collection of children's fiction and reminiscences of childhood written by Kenneth Grahame. A sequel to Grahame's 1895 collection The Golden Age (some of its selections feature the same family of five children), Dream Days was first published in 1898 under the imprint John Lane: The Bodley Head. (The first six selections in the book had been previously published in periodicals of the day—in the Yellow Book, the New Review, and in Scribner's Magazine in the United States.) The book is best known for its inclusion of Grahame's classic story The Reluctant Dragon.

30 review for The Reluctant Dragon (Illustrated, with Audiobook links) (Dream Days 1)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ivonne Rovira

    Kenneth Grahame, best known for his rollicking The Wind in the Willows, wrote this beautiful short story in 1898, and it’s a classic that simply doesn’t age. In this time of COVID-19, Audible made quite a few of its children’s books available for free, and I took advantage and listened to Anton Lesser’s flawless narration. A silver lining to this dark, dark cloud. Kenneth Grahame, best known for his rollicking The Wind in the Willows, wrote this beautiful short story in 1898, and it’s a classic that simply doesn’t age. In this time of COVID-19, Audible made quite a few of its children’s books available for free, and I took advantage and listened to Anton Lesser’s flawless narration. A silver lining to this dark, dark cloud.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melanti

    A really cute story. Though, I have to wonder if a modern child is going to get all the humor that the original child audience was able to get. They'll still think it' funny, of course, but some of the humor is more specific to the era that it was written. For instance, when the dragon says "You must tell him to go away at once, please. Say he can write if he likes, but I can't give him an interview. I'm not seeing anybody at present." the modern kids are going to get that the dragon is just goin A really cute story. Though, I have to wonder if a modern child is going to get all the humor that the original child audience was able to get. They'll still think it' funny, of course, but some of the humor is more specific to the era that it was written. For instance, when the dragon says "You must tell him to go away at once, please. Say he can write if he likes, but I can't give him an interview. I'm not seeing anybody at present." the modern kids are going to get that the dragon is just going to refuse to see the knight, but unless they watch or read lots of late 20th century stories, they may not get the full intended image of a wealthy gentleman sending his butler downstairs to tell visitors that the lord of the house is not receiving visitors. It's a fun story, regardless, but I think it's even more whimsical if you picture the dragon as a slightly disreputable gentleman in his library, just waiting to be invited to the elite's dinner parties.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deborah O'Carroll

    THIS BOOK IS MARVELOUS. EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Subashini

    I love The Wind in the Willows and this has much of the same spirit in a shorter version. Wise, goofy animals with a philosophical bent who, for the most part, just want to be left alone to ponder the world. A cute satire on the chivalric romance and upending expectations about bravery, adventure, and perhaps crucially, violence. And this is cute in the best way; far from twee or cloying. I love The Wind in the Willows and this has much of the same spirit in a shorter version. Wise, goofy animals with a philosophical bent who, for the most part, just want to be left alone to ponder the world. A cute satire on the chivalric romance and upending expectations about bravery, adventure, and perhaps crucially, violence. And this is cute in the best way; far from twee or cloying.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ann

    There once was a shepherd boy who read a lot and thus knew much about fairies, witches, and dragons. So, when a dragon moves into the hill by his family's farm, he goes to talk to the dragon. Turns out that the dragon is actually very nice, and has no inclination to cause anyone any harm at all. He really would just like to write and recite his poetry. But, the townspeople are afraid and, even though the dragon hasn't harmed anyone, they want to get rid of him. Will the boy be able to keep the dr There once was a shepherd boy who read a lot and thus knew much about fairies, witches, and dragons. So, when a dragon moves into the hill by his family's farm, he goes to talk to the dragon. Turns out that the dragon is actually very nice, and has no inclination to cause anyone any harm at all. He really would just like to write and recite his poetry. But, the townspeople are afraid and, even though the dragon hasn't harmed anyone, they want to get rid of him. Will the boy be able to keep the dragon safe? I loved the beginning of this story and the ideas presented (potential danger, prejudice, problem solving). I don't know that the story really carried through with these concepts as much as I'd have liked, but mostly it presents some great opportunities for wonderful discussions. Also, I wasn't a big fan of the shepherd's affinity for "a good fight" (though was pleased he liked them best when no one gets hurt). But, overall, it's a nice tale about dragons and about a boy taking matters into his own hands. I read the version illustrated by Marlene Ekman. You can definitely see some 80's influence in style and color, but the illustrations are sweet, whimsical and pretty and I think I'd probably have loved them as a kid.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    Kenneth Grahame is, of course, much better known for the Wind in the Willows. This book is an almost unknown gem by comparison. Kids and adults love dragons, and this one is drawn with such humour and wit that he is totally adorable. As a child I could never get enough of this book, and my daughter and her children are the same. The language will stretch a younger child but it is refreshing to have a child's book that does not 'dumb down' the writing. The illustrations are a delight and it is a Kenneth Grahame is, of course, much better known for the Wind in the Willows. This book is an almost unknown gem by comparison. Kids and adults love dragons, and this one is drawn with such humour and wit that he is totally adorable. As a child I could never get enough of this book, and my daughter and her children are the same. The language will stretch a younger child but it is refreshing to have a child's book that does not 'dumb down' the writing. The illustrations are a delight and it is a joy to share such a book with a young audience.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Reread. Have loved several different editions/ illustrators. This time I appreciated the Ernest Shepherd drawings, even though he couldn't decide how plump the dragon was, couldn't make it the size of "four carthorses," and couldn't decide what kind of armor St. George was lounging about in. I love the vocabulary stretchers. I loved William Steig and *The Phantom Tollbooth* when I was a child for the same reason - if I'd known of this then I would have loved it. Reread from openlibrary.org because Reread. Have loved several different editions/ illustrators. This time I appreciated the Ernest Shepherd drawings, even though he couldn't decide how plump the dragon was, couldn't make it the size of "four carthorses," and couldn't decide what kind of armor St. George was lounging about in. I love the vocabulary stretchers. I loved William Steig and *The Phantom Tollbooth* when I was a child for the same reason - if I'd known of this then I would have loved it. Reread from openlibrary.org because the first part of the adult novella, The Dragon Griaule, reminded me of it. That story is also marvelous, but as it turned out, strictly for adults. Btw, if you do like this, you might also like another of my favorites, The Book of Dragons by Edith Nesbit, Fiction, Fantasy & Magic, which is a collection of fables and is in the public domain. And doesn't Tolkien have something short & light & somewhat satirical about dragons, too? I'd look it up, but I bet one of you can tell us in the comments.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    Here's a pretty fun and unique fairy tale! Written with a little tongue and cheek, this tale is sure to please. There's a little boy, who's name is "Boy", a reluctant, can't be bothered dragon and a sparkle-on-his-tooth kind of knight that all agree to strike a deal and play a comical charade in order to meet the demands of the silly village people. Enjoy this uncommon lark! Ages: 9+ Cleanliness: normal fairy-tale magic. "O Lord" is said. **Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have Here's a pretty fun and unique fairy tale! Written with a little tongue and cheek, this tale is sure to please. There's a little boy, who's name is "Boy", a reluctant, can't be bothered dragon and a sparkle-on-his-tooth kind of knight that all agree to strike a deal and play a comical charade in order to meet the demands of the silly village people. Enjoy this uncommon lark! Ages: 9+ Cleanliness: normal fairy-tale magic. "O Lord" is said. **Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have hundreds more just like this one. With each review, I provide a Cleanliness Report, mentioning any objectionable content I come across so that parents and/or conscientious readers (like me) can determine beforehand whether they want to read a book or not. Content surprises are super annoying, especially when you’re 100+ pages in, so here’s my attempt to help you avoid that! So Follow or Friend me here on GoodReads! You’ll see my updates as I’m reading and know which books I’m liking and what I’m not finishing and why. You’ll also be able to utilize my library for looking up titles to see whether the book you’re thinking about reading next has any objectionable content or not. From swear words, to romance, to bad attitudes (in children’s books), I cover it all!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Laurel Hicks

    The Ferdinand of the dragon world. Delightful!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shanna Gonzalez

    The Reluctant Dragon is a mild-mannered specimen of his breed who, unlike the "active and earnest" fellows who used to charge around battling knights, has survived long enough to develop his passion for poetry. He is befriended by an intelligent young shepherd boy, who is placed in an awkward position when the villagers discover the dragon's presence. Although the dragon has harmed no one, the villagers are so aroused that they call on Saint George to battle this "pestilential scourge." When Sai The Reluctant Dragon is a mild-mannered specimen of his breed who, unlike the "active and earnest" fellows who used to charge around battling knights, has survived long enough to develop his passion for poetry. He is befriended by an intelligent young shepherd boy, who is placed in an awkward position when the villagers discover the dragon's presence. Although the dragon has harmed no one, the villagers are so aroused that they call on Saint George to battle this "pestilential scourge." When Saint George arrives the dragon flatly refuses to fight, and the boy is left to find a solution to the impasse. This is a brilliantly written satirical fantasy, lambasting the traditional knight-and-dragon stories and providing a wonderful protagonist that boys of all ages (and many girls) will want to identify with. The fantastical pleasure of friendship with a dragon is enhanced by encounters with the famous knight, a theatrical battle, and plenty of intelligent wit to amuse both children and adults. The language is advanced, suitable for reading aloud or for confident self-readers. Some of the humor will be above young readers' heads, but there is enough action to make it interesting for younger ages. The original classic version is charmingly illustrated in pen-and-ink by Ernest Shepard (who also illustrated the Winnie-the-Pooh books), but for younger readers a more colorful version may be more appealing. There is a visually pleasing paraphrase by Inga Moore, which unfortunately preserves almost none of Grahame's marvelous prose. The unabridged edition by Michael Hague has lavish illustrations on almost every page, and it is my favorite version.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    Of course, I had 'The Wind in the Willows' as a child. I truly wish I'd had this story as well. It's less well known - but I'm not sure why. This is a truly wonderful story-within-a-story: two children, fancying that the snow tracks they've followed from their yard are those of a dragon, encounter a kindly neighbor, who tells them a story - of course, about a boy who meets a literarily-inclined, and unusually good-tempered dragon. Whimsical, warm and clever.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Eileen

    4.5 stars I thought this was really cute! I read Wind in the Willows not long ago, which is probably what the author is best known for. But while poking around, I came across this book and intended to read it, but with one thing and another, I didn't end up getting to this. Then I discovered that Audible had it with a different narrator (I have a copy with multiple actors) so I decided to give it a try. It was very enjoyable and I thought the reader was very easy to understand. But I've been list 4.5 stars I thought this was really cute! I read Wind in the Willows not long ago, which is probably what the author is best known for. But while poking around, I came across this book and intended to read it, but with one thing and another, I didn't end up getting to this. Then I discovered that Audible had it with a different narrator (I have a copy with multiple actors) so I decided to give it a try. It was very enjoyable and I thought the reader was very easy to understand. But I've been listening to many Scottish and English readers lately, so I didn't have any trouble adjusting. I'm wondering if younger kids might. This story reminded me a little bit of Puff the Magic dragon with the friendship between the little boy and the dragon, but there was also a little bit of Ferdinand the Bull in it as the dragon was not at all interested in fighting. I enjoyed this book a lot more than Wind in the Willows and I'm wondering why I never heard of this book until now. Either way, I'm glad I found it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Megan Larson

    What a clever twist on a dragon tale. The shepherd boy is such a great reader of fairy tales that he takes the advent of a dragon to his hometown quite in stride. The only problem is that, although the dragon is thoroughly tame, the townspeople love a good fight and absolutely insist that a dragon-slayer be sent for. Thankfully, the man in question, none other than St. George himself, knows how people sometimes exaggerate, and doesn't care too much for killing. The solution is agreed upon by the What a clever twist on a dragon tale. The shepherd boy is such a great reader of fairy tales that he takes the advent of a dragon to his hometown quite in stride. The only problem is that, although the dragon is thoroughly tame, the townspeople love a good fight and absolutely insist that a dragon-slayer be sent for. Thankfully, the man in question, none other than St. George himself, knows how people sometimes exaggerate, and doesn't care too much for killing. The solution is agreed upon by the boy, the dragon, and St. George, and all turns out for the best. Even the bloodthirsty townspeople are chastened. The writing style is a pleasure to read. The book-loving shepherd boy is the responsible party in all areas of his life, which is so enjoyable in a children's story. The tone reminds me of A.A. Milne and C.S. Lewis at the same time, and the illustrations by Ernest Shepherd are delightful. Of course, the vocabulary is spectacular. One sentence I read aloud to my husband was, "Meanwhile the Dragon, a happy Bohemian, lolled on the turf, enjoyed the sunsets, told antediluvian anecdotes to the Boy, and polished his old verses while meditating on fresh ones." While the English language and the overall quality of children's literature have taken a sad turn since this book's 1898 publication, my children don't have to know about it just yet.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mamamaggie

    OMG, loved this. my six year old and i were reading for a library list and this story, oh this story is so witty and hilarious. i laughed many times. we are starting wind and the willows now. tickle a funny bone long forgotten, read this one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim

    The Reluctant Dragon is a delight of language and plot. The pacifist and poetical dragon, the wise and well-read boy, and the compassionate St. George come together in a small story that I love to read and hear aloud.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sophie (Blame Chocolate) *on hiatus*

    Another cute fairy tale! I enjoyed myself way too much and found myself so attached to the endearing dragon that I was seriously fearing for his life! He was just such a sweetiepie and I mean, a dragon who loves reading and making up poetry? How adorable is that?? The boy was also incredibly entertaining and resourceful and will definitely resonate with a lot of readers who just don't feel like they fit in with anyone, and especially their own families. He was just so spunky and kind of a drama q Another cute fairy tale! I enjoyed myself way too much and found myself so attached to the endearing dragon that I was seriously fearing for his life! He was just such a sweetiepie and I mean, a dragon who loves reading and making up poetry? How adorable is that?? The boy was also incredibly entertaining and resourceful and will definitely resonate with a lot of readers who just don't feel like they fit in with anyone, and especially their own families. He was just so spunky and kind of a drama queen. They find themselves in quite the predicament but nevertheless keep their spirits up throughout! Overall, a sweet little read for all the book dragons out there. 4 stars ~ This book grants an Outstanding (O) grade in Care of Magical Creatures (N.E.W.T.s) ~

  17. 5 out of 5

    Anna Mussmann

    So very, very BRITISH! Really, it’s a satire on Britishness, isn’t it? It’s hilarious and quite charming, but I wouldn’t read it to kids, despite the illustrations. I’d rather my children internalize and love the archetypes of fairy tales before they read something that skewers those themes. It would be perfect once they are older and have already enjoyed a number of British books.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    The dragon is such a cutie! I'd invite him to tea. I "read" this in audiobook form and the narrator (Anton Lesser) did a very good job. The author (Kenneth Grahame) needed to have researched dragon sounds though because at one point the dragon purred and at another barked which just sounded so odd.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Smritika

    There's so many good children's books and comics that I've come across recently, like The Little Prince, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. This is one of them. There's humour and also a hint of intellect, that you will only get if you are not a child. Books like these are such good alternatives. I don't know why people tell their kids stories like Cinderalla, The Little Mermaid, etc. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️

  20. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Kooker

    Oh my, so delightful! I was laughing out loud. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Anton Lesser. This will be a really fun audiobook for when the boys are familiar with Saint George and The Dragon. Similar to Winnie the Pooh or Wind in the Willows, though some of the humor may be lost on little ears, the language is well worth reading aloud before they can read it to themselves.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Kenneth Grahame, best known for writing The Wind in the Willows, wrote this book. Ernest H. Shepard, best known for illustrating Winnie-The-Pooh, illustrated this book. With a winning team like that, it is no surprise that this well-loved book has become a classic. The plot of this story is straightforward enough: A dragon moves into a cave near a village. The villagers want the dragon gone. The villagers hire a knight to fight the dragon. But there are such delightful twists and turns along the Kenneth Grahame, best known for writing The Wind in the Willows, wrote this book. Ernest H. Shepard, best known for illustrating Winnie-The-Pooh, illustrated this book. With a winning team like that, it is no surprise that this well-loved book has become a classic. The plot of this story is straightforward enough: A dragon moves into a cave near a village. The villagers want the dragon gone. The villagers hire a knight to fight the dragon. But there are such delightful twists and turns along the way it is easy to forget that the plot is straightforward. For example, the dragon is not a killing dragon; he is a poetry reading dragon. And the knight that is hired is none other than St. George. The knight and the dragon do fight and the conclusion is most satisfactory. The illustrations, as all good illustrations do, illuminate the text, add charm and character. Created by Shepard's deft hands, they are nothing short of perfection.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kris

    Subtle. Simple. Short. No chapters, no needless introductions, no worthless explanations. Lovely. This is a new layer that adds to the classic story of St. George and the Dragon. I felt like Grahame expected children to already be familiar with the ancient poetry, so one could read this and find all the little subtleties to it. From this book we are to see the legend from the child's perspective, because of course that is important. I appreciated the nod to the fantastical, the expectations of res Subtle. Simple. Short. No chapters, no needless introductions, no worthless explanations. Lovely. This is a new layer that adds to the classic story of St. George and the Dragon. I felt like Grahame expected children to already be familiar with the ancient poetry, so one could read this and find all the little subtleties to it. From this book we are to see the legend from the child's perspective, because of course that is important. I appreciated the nod to the fantastical, the expectations of respectability and showmanship, the honor for authority. Grahame even threw in a few comments about how important verse and language is-- ironic when considering the source material. There's the realistic assumptions for crowds only wanting fights and banquets, and a special like for privacy and methodical thinking. Definitely my kind of book. In a way I wish it was longer, but with this little gem, I think Grahame did all he wanted to do. Just once. And that's that.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    I promised that I have read this book somewhere, maybe once upon a time, for it is familiar but I just cannot place where. For me the writing was bland and the characters didn't have much of a personality besides annoying, vexing and what the. And to top the flat personalities the main characters with the exception of St. George didn't have names but were called by their place in the book then given with "and that was their skill while they were good at it". It would be interesting to see how D I promised that I have read this book somewhere, maybe once upon a time, for it is familiar but I just cannot place where. For me the writing was bland and the characters didn't have much of a personality besides annoying, vexing and what the. And to top the flat personalities the main characters with the exception of St. George didn't have names but were called by their place in the book then given with "and that was their skill while they were good at it". It would be interesting to see how Disney ended up re-making this to their own since I did watch a bit on Youtube. Otherwise this is one book whose easy writing and simple drawings will more than likely attract the attention of younger crowds rather than older ones.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Niki (nikilovestoread)

    I had read this previously, but decided to read it aloud to my children this time. My kids really enjoyed it. I love the timeless feeling of a young boy enthralled with knights and dragons who gets the chance to meet a real dragon one day. Though the villagers are scared and want to rid the area of this "scourge," the boy realizes that there is really nothing to fear from this dragon and befriends him. Not only that, but he brings the knight and the dragon together and they all become friends. I I had read this previously, but decided to read it aloud to my children this time. My kids really enjoyed it. I love the timeless feeling of a young boy enthralled with knights and dragons who gets the chance to meet a real dragon one day. Though the villagers are scared and want to rid the area of this "scourge," the boy realizes that there is really nothing to fear from this dragon and befriends him. Not only that, but he brings the knight and the dragon together and they all become friends. I love that it celebrates friendship, looking past prejudices, and judging someone for yourself instead of believing the tales you hear. We all enjoyed the book and then watched the Disney short film afterwards.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Thoroughly enjoyed this little book. The writing was fresh and witty, and Grahame inverted the classic St. George kills dragon tale. This dragon is reluctant to fight, preferring instead to work on his verses. The shepherd's son knows from his extensive reading of natural history and fairy tales that a dragon must fight when St. George comes to town. But this dragon balks. So the three devise a spectacle in which all keep their honor, the townspeople are treated to a worthy show, and the dragon g Thoroughly enjoyed this little book. The writing was fresh and witty, and Grahame inverted the classic St. George kills dragon tale. This dragon is reluctant to fight, preferring instead to work on his verses. The shepherd's son knows from his extensive reading of natural history and fairy tales that a dragon must fight when St. George comes to town. But this dragon balks. So the three devise a spectacle in which all keep their honor, the townspeople are treated to a worthy show, and the dragon gets to make his debut in society. Light on blood sport and clever throughout, the boys enjoyed it. The charming illustrations helped keep our youngest dragon-slayers in the making engaged too.

  26. 5 out of 5

    David

    I'd never heard of this book before I did a search on Shepard illustrated children's literature. What a sweet little gem of a book! Not much to the story. St. George vs the Dragon, except this time the Dragon is a good guy. It's the poetic prose that makes it something special. Love this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Nicola

    This was a delightful little story. I loved the twist in the story and the illustrations added to the story in a wonderful way. It ignited the imagination and I could see the story play out like a movie in my mind. This was a fab read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cathy aka The Attached Mama

    Go! Read this to your children...now! You will thank me. This was such a fun book to read aloud. Especially if you can do a decent English countryside accent. We were all laughing out loud. The version with illustrations by Ernest H. Shepherd is the best.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Samra

    adorable, dragon is a good guy. love the colors and how the characters help each other out

  30. 5 out of 5

    Manuel Alfonseca

    A singular parody of the legend of St. George and the dragon, with no princess, a dragon that refuses to fight, and a boy who acts as middleman.

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