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The Discovery of Dragons
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The Discovery of Dragons

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  2,153 Ratings  ·  69 Reviews
With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Base (Animalia) poses as the Victorian scientist Rowland W. Greasebeam, B.Sc. (Serpentology), F.R.Aud., to serve up this compendium of dragon lore and sheer inventive nonsense. Expanding on a dozen illustrations from his calendar Dragons Draaks & Beasties, Base fabricates a trio of correspondents?a Viking, a Chinese silk trader and ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Harry N. Abrams (first published January 1st 1996)
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(showing 1-30)
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May 01, 2012 Dolly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a fascinating book of dragons, accompanied by correspondence written by the folks who discovered them. The letters are broken up into three groups that feature European dragons, Asiatic dragons and Tropical dragons. The letters themselves are hilarious, with humor that is often subtle and somewhat dark. Many children will not 'get' all of the humor, I suspect, but they are still entertaining to read aloud. The captions for the gorgeous illustrations often play off the letters themselves, ...more
Alfred Haplo
Aug 22, 2016 Alfred Haplo rated it it was ok
I confess. I am bit of a dragon-phile. Especially dragons illustrated artfully and beautifully. So, this isn’t really a review worth any two cents but an excuse to show a sample of these awesome, fearsome, loathsome, magnificent creatures (credits to Graeme Base):

St George Dragon

Japanese Butterfly Lizard

Emerald Dragon

Great Snow Dragon

Soong-Chen-Yi’s Dragon

Before you go dragon-hunting please, please! I implore you to at least do this first - read up the rare and historical letters found in the e
This is a vertically oriented postmodern picturebook. The images are realistically done with amazing detail. Each dragon image is framed with a thin black line. It is positioned on the right hand side of the page and crosses over onto the left side of the page by a couple of inches. Each dragon is paired with a letter from Bjorn of Bromme, Mei Ying, Dr E. F. Liebermann, or Francisco. Each letter has a different typographic style that pairs with the dragon being described. The bottom of each page ...more
May 15, 2010 Almak rated it liked it
Shelves: dragons
The Discovery of Dragons is authored and illustrated by Graeme Base and acts as a small compendium on dragons from around the world through the ages. It is written in the format of letters found from "dragon explorers" about their experiences and run-ins with these magical and sometimes deadly creatures.

Each page is colorfully illustrated and includes a small map showing the habitat where each dragon can be found as well as a scale, showing how large or small the dragon is in comparison to such
Mar 13, 2012 Sally rated it it was amazing
I remember now why I love Base's books so much! He is truly a gifted artist, but this one really shows his sense of humor. My favorite "editor's line" was "the great poet Karioke's ballad, 'I Left My Harp in Sampan Disco'" which made me laugh out loud. I've got to pull all of his books out and reread them! I know they are in the children's section, but I think they're mostly meant for adults.
Apr 26, 2013 Svetlana rated it did not like it
I might just be too old for this stuff (I'm 22). The only thing I liked was that fact that the dragons are you non-standard dragons. But it would be cooler if there was more information about the dragons then what was in the letters. And maybe more about the authors of the letters.
Mar 31, 2015 Anu rated it it was amazing
Has my favourite illustrations of dragons which as a child had filled my imagination with countless adventures.
Jul 09, 2014 Kaethe rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Dragonology before the Ology books hit big. Base's art is way cool and his writing is fun.
Melissa Namba
Jan 12, 2017 Melissa Namba rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coplin
my nephew will love this book. he might actually take it seriously. it is a fun look into the history of dragons based on region. it is an epistolary book. much of the humor will be missed by children, but they will enjoy it nonetheless.
Aug 06, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Tongue-in-cheek "study" of dragons

I just finished reading/looking at another of Graeme Base's books - "Animalia." I enjoyed the story and the gorgeous illustrations in this book, too (THE DISCOVERY OF DRAGONS-NEW RESEARCH REVEALED). Graeme Base, the author/illustrator, is also known as Rowland W. Greasebeam B.Sc. in this book **wink**wink.

This book consists of the tongue-in-cheek observations of four old-time explorers of the world that happen upon dragons during their explorations. In their cor
Brooke Holthe
Oct 01, 2013 Brooke Holthe rated it it was amazing
The first thing I noticed when I grabbed the book was how tall it was, this made me think about how tall all the dragons might be. When I opened the book and looked through the pages I was pleased to see how different each chapter was with where the dragons are from and the adventures these people went on. I like that each dragon had a detailed picture of it as well as where it was found and an estimate of its size by putting a picture of an animal roughly that size. Reading the letter about the ...more
Jun 16, 2011 Daleb. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who luvs Dragons
Recommended to Daleb. by: Another fortuitous stumbling upon at the Main Library of the Weber County Library system several years ago
Reading it again for the second Time...recently came across the 11yr updated version and just had to compare the two books.
The updated version has a whole new chapter on the New World (Americas) Dragons and a new intro. and end notes. Other wise the European, Asian, and Tropical chapters are exactly the same.
I luv the little cartoon depictions/captions describing the pages above them.
Great light read for Anyone who enjoys the magical world of Dragons like I Do.
P.S.: Well, it won't let
Apr 04, 2013 Jessica rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book, lavishly illustrated with wonderful stories in the form of letters from various past explorers who've discovered dragons during their travels. I received this book as a child and was enthralled by it. The pages all contain borders in the form of small comic-strip like illustrations showing the travels of the various people, all of which are done in the cultural artistic style of whichever region the section is detailing. Cute, funny, and gorgeous I would highly recommend this boo ...more
Online Eccentric Librarian
Jan 01, 2013 Online Eccentric Librarian rated it it was amazing

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What I really liked about this book is that my 6 year old would listen raptly while I read to her (or play with the various objects) and I could enjoy the wit of the 'story'. It was fun and very tongue in cheek in many areas. Plus, there is so much to explore and do with the book. The illustrations were good and it is an easy read. I would definitely recommend this, especially as a book to read to a child. They won't get
Feb 23, 2015 Harris rated it really liked it
Earlier this year, after moving into my new place, I dug up some of the boxes in my parent’s basement to consolidate and prune my collections. Of course, digging up some childhood favorites, I had to pause to flip through them again, reminding me of days past when there was plenty of time to read, whether on hot summer days or cold winter nights. Many of these books were Christmas or birthday gifts, of course, the inscriptions from family members still scrawled on the inside covers, 1988, 1990, ...more
Alexis Baccus
Jul 22, 2014 Alexis Baccus rated it it was amazing
This is one of those books that when you read it as a kid, the images just stick into your head. Sort of the same thing that happened with me and the Last Unicorn movie.

I love this book since it shows the variety of dragons, its sense of humor, and its art; I haven't read since I was a kid but the images and ideas still stick with me. I mean, look at that cover art--it's freaking badass.

And yet I don't see this on book suggestions for dragon books for kids: come on, parents, LOOK AT IT! It's ent
Lindsay Larsen
Oct 01, 2013 Lindsay Larsen rated it liked it
This book was very majestic looking. It has a very large portrait shape and the font is gold coloring. Opening this book made me feel that I was taken back into a time of dragons and written letters. The pictures are large, usually occupying at least one long page. Each picture has a letter along with it that reflects what dragon is shown. What intrigues me most are the small illustrations running along the bottom of the page. It is a fairly captivating book and takes a while to soak in the pict ...more
Sep 26, 2014 Garren rated it it was ok
Graeme Base needed an excuse to paint a variety of dragons, so he imagined that three explorers discovered the dragons in their respective areas of the world (Northern Europe, East Asia, and Central America) and wrote to someone about each find. This is a younger version of an epistolary novel, not so much a picture book. Although...maybe it still is because the short stories described in the letters are illustrated in a long strip along the bottom of each page in a sort of stylized cave paintin ...more
Sal Villarreal
Oct 01, 2013 Sal Villarreal rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved the illustrations in this book. Being a big fantasy lover I enjoyed the rich detail of each illustrations. I also liked the medieval tone that the borders added to the book. It certainly had a manuscript look to it.

In comparison to my other review for this week I feel that that text was part of the experience but I had a very difficult time reading the text. The semi cursive writing and the background color made it an eye straining experience. So I only read the accompanying
Aug 14, 2016 Mloy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I do like quirky, cheeky books like these, especially when they are about dragons. This is just another addition to my growing collection- entertaining but pretty silly. I'm more fond of books that takes the subject of dragons seriously but occasional pursuing through funny compilations like this one; the illustrations are definitely pretty interesting. The creatures in the Western dragon section were altogether strange and looked more like a lab experiment than your stereotypical dragons; but o ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Courteney rated it liked it
I really really love the pictures, and my children did as well... However, this is an older children's book more than anything. As far as a story goes it doesn't capture a young child's attention for any length of time, and it's hard to read even for me as an adult. The story itself is too fractured to flow well, but the illustrations make it worth buying if only to learn to draw beautiful dragons.
Ilana Waters
Oct 03, 2012 Ilana Waters rated it it was amazing
Definitely one of my favorite books by Graeme Base so far. If you liked the "Gnomes" books (and those who do know what I'm talking about :-), you'll love this very scientific, FULLY authentic tome on dragons. Don't miss the little comic strip type drawings at the bottom of every page (for extra laughs). Kids will probably love the pictures of various dragons most, but the humorous text will keep adults coming back as well.
This book came out when I was a young teen. I was older than the target audience, I'm sure, but it was about dragons and had gorgeous illustrations so I had to have it! I absolutely loved it. The main reason to get this book is the illustrations, but the "research" is interesting and fun as well. I didn't realize there was a new edition with more dragons added. I am excited to get it from the library rediscover these amazing dragons.
Beautiful illustrations/painting as one would expect from Graeme Base, and we enjoyed the size comparison graphics in the corners too. The map graphics however fell short for many of the dragons since the highlighted area of where in the world they are found was so small it was negligible on the world map. The attempted humour from the pseudo-author was not appealing to myself or my son and it was hard to get past that.
May 22, 2011 Danna rated it it was amazing
Stunning and clever; I can't help but love a story so detailed that even the dedication, afterword, and other bits of cataloging data are written in character. Nice reward for those of us who like to read even those obscure parts of a book. (I sailed the Nostalgia Sea this weekend, revisiting my Graeme Base collection before giving it away. Lovely books, and time for them to be passed on to a new soon-to-be reader. Welcome to the world little Benjamin! I'm happy to be your Auntie.)
Jack Kirby and the X-man
So Graeme Base finally got his dragon book!

This is a fun book about the discovery of dragons (bet you didn't guess that from the title!). While well thought out, with great graphic design - it does not have the puzzle elements that make many of Base's books such on-going fun.

Christina Cinfio
This is a very dark kind of picture book. Each page has a different letter from the dragon. The early european dragons had hand written letters dating back to A.D856. The newer dragons had typed letters. Each picture contains a little map of where the dragon is found and there is a lot of detail to talk about. This could be a good book to incorporate during a mythical unit.
Annette McIntyre
I was expecting far better from the producer of the Animalia book.

However it is a fairly cheerful tongue-in-cheek romp through the old fashioned naturalists work and all about different varieties of dragons. Sadly the dragons are all ones he made up instead of being about the dragons people have made tales of for generations.

Well drawn pictures though make this a not too bad book.
Jul 29, 2013 Kris rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-it
Lovely illustrations, and a fun bit of make-believe by both the "author" and those who "discovered" the dragons. Do pay attention to the borders at the bottom of the page. They re-tell the story, in the style of the culture, and are very cute. I understand there is a newer version out now, that includes the discovery of American dragons. I'll have to look for that one! :-)
Jan 15, 2012 Katarina rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, kids, love-it
As a kid, this was one of my favorite books to check out from the library. The illustrations are gorgeous, worth looking at for hours, and the stories, though brief, are humorous, laced with quirky details that escaped the characters but delighted me. I've read it again and again, and finally tracked down my own copy... Can't get enough!
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Graeme Rowland Base is a successful Australian author and artist of picture books that have been sold internationally. He is perhaps best known for his second book, Animalia published in 1986, and third book The Eleventh Hour which was released in 1989.
He was born in England but moved to Australia with his family at the age of eight and has lived there ever since. He attended Box Hill High School
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