fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsKenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi is a charming tribute to Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic The Reluctant Dragon, which most people are familiar with through the Disney short film adaptation. In this beautifully illustrated volume, DiTerlizzi tells the story of a small, bookish rabbit named Kenny who learns that a dragon has been spotted on his family farm. Armed with a bestiary, he goes to investigate, and instead of a fearsome fire-spouting dragon, he finds Grahame, a dragon much more interested in poetry, crème brulee, and rearranging the rocks around his cave than in anything as savage as fighting. Kenny and Grahame become fast friends, but trouble rears its head when the villagers find out about the dragon and demand his extermination.

For those of you who have seen the Disney movie, this plot of this children’s tale will be familiar, but with its charming illustrations and delightful characters, Kenny & the Dragon will still please any but the most hardhearted readers. With a wonderful cast of characters, including rabbits, squirrels, porcupines and a very knightly badger, DiTerlizzi creates a lovely village populated with all sorts of interesting people. His delightful illustrations that adorn almost every page are worth reading the story for by themselves. Those who are familiar with DiTerlizzi’s artwork from THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES will recognize the same delicate beauty, but here it takes on a much lighter tone.

This beautiful children’s book deserves to be read to every child. Depending on how much your child loves dragons and animal stories, you may have to add this to your home collection. Kenny & the Dragon will charm both old and young and would provide a great read-aloud experience.

Kenny & the Dragon — (2008) Kenny is a little rabbit with a very big problem. His two best friends are heading into a battle of legendary proportions — with each other! In one corner there’s Graeme, a well-read and cultured dragon with sophisticated tastes. In the other there’s George, a retired knight and dragon slayer who would be content to spend the rest of his days in his bookshop. Neither really wants to fight, but the village townsfolk are set on removing Graeme from their midst and calling George out of retirement. Can Kenny avert disaster? Tony DiTerlizzi puts a fun-filled, thoroughly theatrical spin on Kenneth Graeme’s classic tale of subterfuge and showmanship with this lighthearted romp of a retelling.


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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