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The Book of Dragons

3.87  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,972 Ratings  ·  179 Reviews
Discover the classics with Looking Glass Library, a series that offers the world’s finest literature, with introductions by some of the foremost writers of today.

In eight highly imaginative tales, beloved children’s author E. Nesbit gives us an extraordinary view of how dragons can shape the fates of princes, queens, and ordinary children alike. With an introduction by New
ebook, 208 pages
Published January 26th 2010 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 1900)
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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. LewisThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienBroken Point by Donna K. ChildreeThe Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. LewisThe Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Great Read-Aloud Fantasy Books
30th out of 173 books — 69 voters
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226th out of 546 books — 1,098 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Debbie Zapata
Aug 23, 2015 Debbie Zapata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: pg
Another Literary Birthday Challenge title, The Book of Dragons is a delightful collection of eight short stories by E. Nesbit. I know many people have read and loved her work for years, but this is only the second title of hers I have ever seen. I still find it hard to believe I never discovered her in my youth, but I can always make up for lost time.
To paraphrase what used to be written in the unexplored areas of ancient maps, Here There Be Dragons: a red dragon who escapes from a book, a pur
This book, published in 1901, is described as a fantasy classic for children of middle school age, as well as something that will enchant people of all ages. It has eight stories featuring youngsters and dragons who come to cross purposes and clash. And how it ends depends on courage, luck, and much help from the author.

I chose this book because I wanted to read something light after a string of heavier books, and because I like imaginative stories with dragons in them. But I failed to see the
Megan E. McCarthy
I first read this book as a little girl-- I think I received it as a birthday present for my 7th birthday, possibly my 8th. It was love, pure and simple. I read it and re-read it, and puzzled over all the strange British details (St. George? Bath buns? Guy Fawkes night???), and just ate it up like it was ice cream. And then I went and grew up and became a normal (ok, normal-ish) person, except that every once in a while, something --a bowl of soggy cereal; a fresh fall of snow as pretty and spar ...more
C.J. Stunkard
Mar 03, 2014 C.J. Stunkard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this book on Kindle but unfortunately let it sit on my digital bookshelf for 18 months gathering bytedust (if there is such a thing). When I finally made the time to read it, I was very glad I did. Granted, I had thought it was a non-fiction book outlining all the various dragon myths of the world, but I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that it was much more.

The Book of Dragons is a fun series of kid-friendly and humorous short stories about children and their misadventures wit
Jan 04, 2016 Claudia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fairytales
A charming collection of children stories featuring dragons and not only, with great teachings at the end of each. I gave it only 3 stars because I read it (obviously) too late but I can appreciate the thrill a child will have by reading /listening it.
Feb 01, 2013 Jefferson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
In The Book of Dragons (1900) E. Nesbit tells eight humorous and imaginative fairy tales about dragons set in modern England or fairy tale kingdoms, all with a modern perspective that both subverts and enjoys the genre. In addition to a variety of dragons (with different sizes, colors, personalities, abilities, and so on), Nesbit writes engagingly about other creatures, from magical ones (cockatrice, manticore, etc.) to non-magical ones (elephants, rabbits, etc.). Wizards and witches, princes an ...more
Sep 14, 2014 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very original, bite-sized stories featuring dragons of all sorts. All are directed to children but there's plenty of sly winking for their parents.

Highlights: a trip to the arctic to free the ice dragon curled around the north pole, a witch joining forces with the queen she cursed to take down a lousy husband, and all of England being pummeled with tiny dragons on account of especially sunny weather.
Cynthia Egbert
Feb 28, 2015 Cynthia Egbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
"The dragon had bags of gold for everyone so now they were rich. Indeed everyone was rich, and there were no more poor people in the town. And they all got rich without working, which is very wrong; but the dragon had never been to school, as you have, so he knew no better."

E. Nesbit never ceases to delight and impress. These eight stories are some of the most fun I have had in a long time.
Luke's review:

This was a book of stories about several different dragons. My favorite chapter was called the Dragon Tamers and it was about a wild dragon whose wings were iron and when he became tame, he turned into a very large cat.
Feb 27, 2012 Anita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You know that feeling of excitement you got when reading fantasy books for the first time as a little kid? This book will totally give you that feeling again! Edith Nesbit wrote these eight dragon stories over 100 years ago, and they are absolutely meant for children, yet they're written with such warmth & wit I found myself laughing out loud many times. There's a story about a dragon escaping from a book, a dragon at the north pole, a dragon who eats an entire village in one gulp, a dragon ...more
May 04, 2016 Alina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ohhh, while reading this, I could imagine a gentle grandma from the ~20s UK telling her grandchild/grandchildren nice little dragon stories, punctuated with teachings and (English) humor.
It definitely stroke a chord with me (even if the stories are - naturally! - childish).
Derek Davis
Nov 20, 2015 Derek Davis rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely little supposedly children's book with stories of different sorts about dragons, all tied together by a light, airy, gigglingly humorous tone that speaks directly to the reader. It's much a product of its time (the turn of the 20th century), when the world, in the minds of many, looked to be both settled and pointed toward progress for all mankind. Nesbit rattles on in a nonsense voice – like a more filigreed follower of Lewis Carroll -- that's the 180-dgree flip of the horror s ...more
Mar 24, 2015 LoudVal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What batshit fun. My major take-away: You are young, yet you know one thing, if you know anything: dragons are dicks.

Island of Nine Whirlpools:
–You are certain to know something if you give for seven days your whole thought to it...
–The Princess lived on her income—and that is a thing that a great many people would like to be able to do.

Dragon Tamers:
–[The dragon] was the beginning of all cats...turn into the beginning of dragons.

Fiery Dragon:
–Has a prince who hunts with a pack of hippopotamuse
Jenny and I very much enjoyed reading this book together. I read a chapter a day and she couldn't wait until it was time for her next Dragon story. I have to admit I felt the same way! Interesting and atypical stories, charming language, great book.
Nathan Dehoff
Jan 05, 2014 Nathan Dehoff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What creature represents fantasy in general better than the dragon? While the general portrayal of dragons makes them nasty, ravenous thieves, it’s certainly not unheard of for them to be noble and even friendly. In this collection of short stories from the turn of the twentieth century, Nesbit deals with dragons of quite different compositions and dispositions. Her style is light and humorous, with her frequently talking directly to the reader. One frequent theme in Nesbit’s work is the contras ...more
Feb 08, 2008 Alysia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We loved this book! It had the kids and mom and dad rolling on the floor laughing in spots, and totally engrossed. Such a fun read.
Debra Clewer
Feb 10, 2016 Debra Clewer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this book twice-because I love it so much! Edith Nesbit was certainly ahead of her time with fantasy dragon tales. I particularly love The Book of Beasts and the Ice Dragon. Whilst these stories were written over a hundred and ten years ago, they are still entrancing and beguiling, even if some of the language is a little dated. J.K. Rowling said in an interview that Nesbit is her favourite author-it's easy to see the inspiration. This collection of short stories have a fairy-tale li ...more
Clare Farrelly
Sep 20, 2015 Clare Farrelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a highly amusing book for kids. It is written to the reader. It is a delightful collection of stories that are simple and sweet, the morals each one is teaching are obvious (though sometimes a little odd). The stories are so unbelievable that I could believe that anything could happen... and it did. Sometimes it is nice to read something like that. Children are the main characters who save the whatever needs saving. One of the nicest things was that the children were in general fairly go ...more
I felt this book talked down to children, especially girls. That annoys me.
Melinda Brasher
Dec 16, 2014 Melinda Brasher rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a collection of charming and humorous short stories, written for children but great for adults. They’re old stories, but still hold up well. The old style of talking directly to the reader is pleasant here, and the imagination and creativity are great. Sometimes the humor borders on silly, but mostly it’s really well done. I also wish a few of the problems had slightly more believable solutions. Nevertheless, I really liked this, and already have more of Nesbit’s books waiting on my e-re ...more
Mar 20, 2015 Popo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I had this book as a kid and remember being fascinated by the scene in "The Deliverers of Their Country" when the girl's father takes a tiny dragon out of her eye with a paintbrush dipped in castor-oil. I recognized the writing style of "The Dragon Tamers" as hers in a book of short stories about dragons, and it made me eager to read her other stories since I had never finished the book.

E. Nesbit's writing style is so much fun; I loved how she described the dragons and scenery. My favorite thin
Mar 17, 2015 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
I can't decide whether I'm glad or disappointed that I didn't find this book as a child. If I had, I think I would have been absolutely fascinated with it - both with the mysterious and differently motivated dragons and with the archaic tone of writing. Words and names that made sense to English children more than a hundred years ago are baffling to an American today.

The thing that struck me as the most fascinating, and might have been most damaging to my child psyche, were the moral tales cont
Feb 02, 2016 Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The dark arch that lead to the witch's cave was hung with a black-and-yellow fringe of live snakes." One of my favorite first sentences, from "The Island of the Nine Whirlpools," the fifth of eight short stories in The Book of Dragons. The whole book was full of sentences like that.

The stories in this book are sometimes about princes and princesses, and sometimes about regular children. Each has a different kind of dragon- some good, some bad, some firey, some icy, and one that purrs like a cat
Apr 24, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, childrens
“Fairy tales do not tell children the dragons exist. Children already know that dragons exist. Fairy tales tell children the dragons can be killed.”--G.K.Chesterton.

This is a collection of eight tales, which I read to my daughter over the course of a couple weeks. Nesbit is pretty famous and doesn't really need my endorsement, but if you've never heard of her, you're in for a treat. Edith Nesbit (1858-1924) wrote a lot of children's books -- probably the most famous being the Boxcar Children. Al
Mar 11, 2014 Orion rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Book of Dragons contains eight short stories by Edith Nesbit that have a dragon or dragons as the main plot element. Originally published in 1900 for British children, modern American readers may find many of the references charming or confusing. However, Nesbit's imagination and writing skills are well represented in these children's stories. Being in the Public Domain, this and many other books by Nesbit are now freely available online through sites like Internet Archive, Amazon, Google Bo ...more
I gather that people who read E Nesbit's works too often don't read the biographical info. If they did, they'd realize that she was in fact a revolutionary, who gave children MUCH more respect than her predecessors did.

This is a collection of short stories, so following my usual practice with anthologies, I will list the stories with a short synopsis of each, as I go.

(1) The Book of Beasts: Open the book, and the beast depicted thereon escapes into the world. What price a table of contents?

(2) U
Apr 19, 2013 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children aged 10 or over, or adults
The Victorian language and the rampant 'sly winking' makes this a quirky read. (The way they talked to children in 1900, not to mention all the caning!) So reading this to children would require some explanations along the way. But all that aside, the inventiveness of the stories is astonishing. Nesbit must have had the most original of imaginations and obviously enjoyed her storytelling. Good on her. A really entertaining read.

Actually, since I'm putting my fairy tale reading into the context
A Bookworm Reading (Plethora)
Nice little collection of dragon tales with kids as the heroes/heroines. It does have its evil parts with dragons wanting to eat people; however the plans to save the day that the children come up with are nice. Typical good versus bad found in fairy tales. Some of the explanations for things like the aurora borealis bring a smile. Stories are short and could be a longish bedtime story length.

I think my favorite line from the tales is in the last tale: Kind Little Edmund. Edmond, an ambitious o
Once you understand the significance of E. Nesbit, you'll realize just how important these short stories are. Inspiring people likeDiana Wynne Jones, C.S. Lewis, and our contemporary J.K. Rowling, Nesbit serves as a foundation for the fantasy we know and love. Not to mention she hung out with H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw. I mean, come on. That's pretty impressive.

These stories do two things (and many more, but we'll focus on two): 1) The children in these stories play lead role and are abl
Feb 15, 2014 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the biography of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, Edith Nesbit is referenced a few times (Pamela always liked being compared to E. Nesbit). That reminded me of how much I enjoyed reading E. Nesbit books - Kirsten Van Steenberg had turned me on to Five Children and It when I was in college, and during my early years in San Francisco, I read through the SFPL's collection of Nesbit books. I highly recommend them - they are simply delightful, and her biography is fascinating as well. I chose thi ...more
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Edith Nesbit (married name Edith Bland; 15 August 1858 – 4 May 1924) was an English author and poet; she published her books for children under the name of E. Nesbit.
She wrote or collaborated on over 60 books of fiction for children, several of which have been adapted for film and television. She was also a political activist and co-founded the Fabian Society, a socialist organisation later connec
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“Yes, I know," Lionel interrupted. "Well, I shall read them all. I love to read. I am so glad I learned to read.” 2 likes
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