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King Jack and the Dragon
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King Jack and the Dragon

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  915 Ratings  ·  158 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 Books (first published July 1st 2011)
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Jan 30, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 01, 2011 Tasha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
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
Apr 23, 2012 Kathryn rated it liked it
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
Feb 10, 2012 Trace rated it it was amazing
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.
Apr 29, 2014 Laurie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jared White
I almost added this one to my "classic children's books" shelf because, though it's only a few years old, it looks and feels like a classic (except maybe that it doesn't have as much text as a lot of classic children's books do). The pictures are lovely, the story contains so much imagination, and the text is great and rhyming (which makes it fun to read).
Sep 28, 2016 Natasha rated it really liked it
Another one that as parents, we enjoyed more than our toddler at this stage but looking forward to getting this one from the library again in a couple of years. Delightful Helen Oxenbury illustrations and great story line around the imaginative play of a little boy, his younger brother, and a friend.
Abby Willaims
Sep 29, 2016 Abby Willaims rated it really liked it
Shelves: el-230-b
This is very cute story about a brave little boy who learns that he still needs his mom and dad at times. This would be a good book to read to young readers, or have in a classroom for beginners to read. It is also a very good book to practice reading aloud.
Josh Sonii
Oct 27, 2014 Josh Sonii rated it liked it
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
Ali Dutil
Oct 17, 2012 Ali Dutil rated it it was amazing
“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
Alex Sandiland
Oct 24, 2012 Alex Sandiland rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Amy Forrester
May 17, 2012 Amy Forrester rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Falan Miller
Jan 31, 2016 Falan Miller rated it really liked it
"King Jack and the Dragon" is written by Peter Bently and Helen Oxenbury. It is written in poetic form and I love how it is written. This book was about a little boy, his friend, and his baby brother. The three of them decided to go on an adventure and fight dragons for the afternoon. The three were victorious as they fought off all the dragons and monsters. There came a time when the oldest brother was left all alone in the dark by himself. He didn't feel as invincible as he did when his friend ...more
Julia Jasztal
Jan 24, 2013 Julia Jasztal rated it liked it
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
Michelle McBeth
Aug 29, 2014 Michelle McBeth rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Benjamin Elliott
Apr 24, 2016 Benjamin Elliott rated it it was amazing
This is excellent. The varying illustration style works well to change the perspective from moment to moment without having to do too much with the text. The story they tell about the boy and his friends and the counterpoint in the final act where he's alone in the dark is great. The pictures to a great job of setting Caspar off as a separate character acting appropriately for his age. Lots of stuff done right here.
Only two nitpicks, a couple places the words were forced into an awkward read to
Jane G Meyer
Feb 02, 2012 Jane G Meyer rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
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
Jul 27, 2011 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ncbla
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
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
Sep 07, 2014 Tamara rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
A cute story of boys' imaginative adventures, including fears that can come. A cute twist that was predictable for the reader. Fabulous illustrations. Might work in a preschool storytime, though I think a smaller group would be best to let them see the pictures more easily.

12/3/14 Finally managed to fit this into a storytime. Used as opener for Dreams theme. They loved the pages with the dragons and beasts. And I think I pulled off the scary part. They liked it. I think. Not many responses from
Brindizi Hamblin
I kind of really enjoyed this book a lot. It is something that I kind of did when I was a kid. Often times I would create castles out of the landscape in my backyard and even the fallen leaves. I'd build the walls with dead leaves and create a castle and just explore my imagination. I loved this book because it was a lot like this. I loved how it was relatable and something that I hope every kid experiences in one way or another and also give them a little stimulation in their creativity, which ...more
Matt Davies
Mar 04, 2013 Matt Davies rated it really liked it
Three small boys build a den, from which they battle terrible monsters, until one by one they are snatched away by giants (or their parents). I really liked the way that it fuses reality and the children's vivid imaginings. My only reservation about this book is that it's all about boys, there are no girls, and there seems no reason for that. In class the children could build a den and act out there favourite parts, and it could be used as a catalyst to encourage children to re-imagine the ...more
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Nov 23, 2011 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
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’
Jul 15, 2012 Eyehavenofilter rated it really liked it
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
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 ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: preschool, fantasy
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
Feb 01, 2012 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
Jack and his friends build a fort and pretend play the afternoon away fighting dragons and monsters. When Jack decides to stay out late after his friends have gone home, he starts to wonder if dragons are real after all, but the shadowy creature he sees turns out to be mom and dad to take him home for the night. This one reminded me a little of Where the Wild Things Are. I love Helen Oxenbury's illustrations in this one; they really add to the story, similar to Sendak's illustration in Wild ...more
Mar 27, 2015 Lauren rated it it was amazing
Shelves: matthew
we read this almost every night to our little boy. the art work is beautiful, alternating black and white pictures for the younger baby eyes, and colorful images. It has a dragon and our son loves to go "rahhh!" when we get to that page. It has great rhyme and helps him wind down. Perfect for little boys and their parents who can remember playing with cardboard boxes outside during summer evenings when the day seemed to go on forever. A must read.
Jul 07, 2012 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture
Wow....I loved it. Memories of making forts out of sheets and chairs with my brother flooded back when reading this. The illustrations were amazing. I love the little friend with the pacifier stuck in his mouth on every page. It would be great for inferring. It was fun to imagine how the things King Jack's mom and dad have read to him infused the play later on.....I saw the influence of Where the Wild Things Are.
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