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King Jack and the Dragon
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King Jack and the Dragon

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  581 ratings  ·  130 reviews
An irresistible knights-and-dragons fantasy for the very young, in the tradition of Oxenbury's enduring classic We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Jack, Zack, and baby Caspar spend all day fighting dragons in their homemade fort. But when Sir Zack and Caspar are taken inside for bed, King Jack - alone on his throne - finds himself feeling a bit less brave . . . especially when he h
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 18th 2011 by Dial (first published July 1st 2011)
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King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury is a knights-and-dragons fantasy for the very young.

Young friends Jack, Zack and Caspar build a castle out of a carboard box, a sheet, a blanket, some sticks, broken bricks, trash bags, and odds & ends. They fantasize about fighting dragons and beasts all day. As it gets dark, one by one, the kids are taken away by giants until Jack is left all alone. There, in the dark, a scary monster with four legs approaches.

The text
Open this book and you are immersed in a wonderful world of make-believe that you will not want to leave. There is a timelessness to not only the story here, but the way it is told.

Jack, Zack and Caspar were making a fort for King Jack out of a large box, a sheet, a blanket, some sticks, broken bricks, some trash bags, and other odds and ends. Then they spent the entire day fighting dragons and beasts until they returned back to their fort for a celebratory feast. Unfortunately, after that a gi
I'm a huge fan of Helen Oxenbury's illustrations and they are wonderfully suited to the story here as she does a great job with both the "real world" creations (the box-castle that Jack builds, the expressions of Jack and his friends) and the imaginary creatures Jack battles. Peter Bently's rhyming text is engaging and flows smoothly and I love the sense of imaginative play and also how skillfully he shows the change in little ones from being brave to needing Mommy and Daddy!
I guess I was just
Josh Sonii
This book is about three friends that are going to build a fort. One of them is a king named Jack, but the other two names are not revealed yet. They got a big cardboard box, an old sheet, sticks, some trash bags, broken bricks, an old quilt, drawbridge, and a flag then the castle was done. King Jack stands on the bricks and gives a speech preparing them to fight the dragons. Then some dragons appeared and they began to fight them. After the dragons they began to fight some beasts that they beat ...more
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Michelle McBeth
I loved this book beginning with the cover. Who couldn't love the three little boys who built themselves a castle out of cardboard, blankets and other things laying about? The littlest one sucks his binky and points the dragons away. The next oldest boy has saggy pants and a dragon slaying spirit. Then there is Jack, who tries his best to brave the dark after his friends have left. He plans on continuing the game of dragon slaying all by himself. But he is very happy when his parents bring him h ...more
In a word - ADORABLE. We must have read this library book half a dozen times and I certainly didn't tire of it one bit... too cute for words.
King Jack and the Dragon by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury story for children everywhere is a playful and imaginative tale of how vast and amazing a child’s imagination can be. We meet King Jack and his men who make their castle and defend it from the dragons! Who are not really dragons (but I will not spoil the ending). With the lovely illustrations and suspense filled parts, children and adults will enjoy this story. A great part of the story is that suspense can be built which will fully eng ...more
Amy Musser
King Jack and his trusty men, Zack and Casper, troop outside to build a castle in the backyard out of an old cardboard box and some sheets. With their fortress in place, they battle dragons and beasts all day long, only breaking for a fabulous feast. But then a giant comes to take Sir Zack home and Caspar is carried off to bed. King Jack sits in his castle and declares that he shall fight the dragons alone. As the wind makes the trees quiver and the sky quickly darkens, the little king wraps him ...more
Alex Sandiland
This book is about three little boys named Jack, Zack and Caspar. They decided to make a den for King Jack and his men. They made this fort from things around their house like a sheet, a cardboard box, some sticks and bricks, and some trash bags. This fort included all of the necessities of a great king. It has a royal throne, a drawbridge and a flag. After the castle was built, they spent the whole day defeating dragons and beasts. They returned to their fort after the day was done. Zack's fath ...more
Ali Dutil
“A big cardboard box, an old sheet and some sticks, a couple of trash bags, a few broken bricks, a fine royal throne from a ragged old quilt, a drawbridge, a flag – and the castle was built.”

Jack, along with his friends Zack and Casper, have decided to build a fort/castle. Jack declares himself as king while Zack and Casper become his knights. They spend the day fighting dragons and beasts protecting their castle from being destroyed. After a long day of defending their stronghold, they retire
Julia Jasztal
Mommy's review from 12/21/11 -

I really, really think Helen Oxenbury did a fantastic job here. It's not often illustrations fit so beautifully with a story. The baby added so much to the story IMO and Julia thought that was the cutest touch.
The story isn't hard to follow - it's about a little boy and his friend and his baby brother playing knights and dragons in their backyard. Like most kids they really let their imagination go when "building" their castle and shortly after this is finished the
Jenni De la mare
It may sound weird to describe a book as cute but this one really was. The three boys out to hunt dragons in the back yard in their castle (blanket fort) was just fun. I loved the imagination aspects of this book. I feel like imagination is becoming a thing of the past and reading books like this one makes me happy. And building a "castle" to live in while hunting dragons doesn't have to be an outside activity, you could do it in your house if outside isn't an option!
Three young boys play at being a King and his knights, building a mighty castle and fighting dragons and other beasties, before they are taken away by "giants" and brought home. King Jack lasts the longest before he is scared by "the Thing" and is later brought home. A cute book about imagination and play, would be a great book for a preschool storytime. Loved the illustrations. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3 stars.
Jennifer Thompson
An excellent imaginative book from the kids perspective. The language and cadence of the rhymes are impeccable, and they are effective at fostering literacy and language skills in children of all ages... And the adults!

My brother gifted this to my son for his 2nd birthday, and it's been a solid favourite for the last 2.5 years.
Ashley Lewis
I really enjoyed the pictures in this book. They were detailed and very imaginative. I also liked how the author told the story in rhymes. The storyline was cute and made me reminisce on my childhood. I loved being with friends and pretending to be and do different things. This book illustrated the creative minds of young children.
Jane G Meyer
A fun book for story time--either at bed or whenever... simply sweet. Three little munchkins head out into the backyard to play and fight dragons. They play until dark, until they're swooped up by their parents and carted off to bed. In the middle of the book there are three spreads that are fantastic! The art covers both pages, and on the first the kids are fighting dragons, on the second they're fighting beasts, and on the third spread the beasts and dragons are fleeing through the forest. So ...more
One of my 2 year old sons favorite bedtime stories. Great rhythm and flow and keeps him completely engaged, so much so, that he takes the book and "reads" it a second time after I've read it...which probably means more than any review I could write. The art by Helen Oxenbury is fabulous, as always!
Helen Oxenbury is second only to Janet Aahlberg in my mind for her drawings. This book has wonderful drawings and the story shows how children's imagination makes everyday items in to something altogether more interesting. It was nice to see a distinct lack of health and safety and mollycoddling as the children are left to their own devices and collected at twilight (based on the parents' clothing it's summer so these toddlers were out until around 10pm. Yes, I've clearly invested too much time ...more
Leticia Martinez
This book is a really good fantasy book for small children. Its about three small boys in a back yard that pretend to defeat dragons and beasts. They build their throne out of materials that they find in the backyard and pretend to be the heros for the day. Cute story.
In a story with which almost all of us can relate, Jack and his two good friends, Zack and Casper, spend the whole day playing out in the yard. They create a castle out of the materials available to them, and commence to defend it from all sorts of creatures. But as night falls, his comrades are forced to desert him when their parents take them home. Jack is left to defend the kingdom all by himself until his adventures are forced to end as well since it's time for bed. I loved the rhyming text ...more
Melanie Bowman
I love to read this book to my grandson, Duncan. He likes the characters, Jack, Zach and Casper and the lyrical feel to the narrative. Duncan was about 18 months old when his Mom bought him this book and he liked it immediately.
My five-year-old son picked this book out from the library last week.

The story is adorable, even with dragons, great beasts and giants. The illustrations are reminiscent of Sendak, but softer and sweeter.

Charles Perkins
I can remember as a kid behaving this way, and so this book brought back memories of spending time outside with my sister fighting evil wizards or trolls. Two thumbs up.
Laura Ender
Such a cute book. I love the illustrations of the dragons and beasts. My 13-month-old son is a fan.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jack makes a castle for himself and his friends and they spend the day fighting dragons and other beasts. Then night comes and, slowly, one by one, the friends go home to bed. Jack tries to be brave and stay the night, but soon his parents come and carry him off to bed.

Beautiful illustrations and rhyming text make for a lovely story.

“Jack, Zack, and Caspar
were making a den---
a mighty great fort for King Jack and his men….

‘Prepare to do battle, brave knights!’
cried King Jack.
‘Protect your king’
I don't always love picture books that rhyme. Somehow, many of them fall short of the mark, and I wind up distracted by the the rhyming rather than getting lost in the story. Not here, however. The rhyming fits, and somehow makes the story even more cozy feeling. Cozy dragon fighting? Yes! The trio of young friends spending the day building a fort and fighting dragons is so sweet, it does indeed feel kind of cozy. Maybe that's just the "mama" in me enjoying watching young ones so wrapped up in p ...more
Crysta Xue
Very sweet story with fun and funny pictures.
Bentley, Peter - King Jack and the Dragon - illustrated by Helen Oxenbury - Dial Books for Young Readers - 2011 - ALSC 2012 Notable
**In this sweetly illustrated story of imagination, three little boys build a fort and fight dragons and monsters until one by one they are retrieved by their parents. Children could build mini forts out of blocks and fabric scraps. They could also draw pictures of what they would build if they are were outside in the woods playing. This book is really geared for pre
Three brave little boys build their castle and defend it against "dragons" and "ogres " to the best of their abilities. But as the day wears on, one by one, they must go home untill King Jack is left to defend the castle alone, as it starts to get dark. Peter Bentley's story is one that can be easily followed by the "younguns" . The illustrations are reminiscent of some older children's books that I have adored in the past. Beautiful in their richness, kudos to Helen Oxenbury for her ability to ...more
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