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The Book of Dragons

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  1,355 ratings  ·  130 reviews
Eight madcap tales of unpredictable dragons — including one made of ice, another that takes refuge in the General Post Office, and a fire-breathing monster that flies out of an enchanted book and eats an entire soccer team! Marvelous adventure and excitement for make-believers of all ages. 24 illustrations.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 26th 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 1900)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Jefferson
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
C.J. Stunkard
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
...more
Jessica
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.
Trace
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.
Anita
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
Frances
"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
...more
Theresa
Oct 07, 2011 Theresa added it
Shelves: jenny-read
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
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
Alysia
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.
Mike
“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
...more
Orion
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
Valerie
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
...more
Judy
Apr 19, 2013 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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Brandi
Aug 08, 2011 Brandi rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children and parents
This book contains fairy tales and stories about dragons. Each story is different; some are about princes or princesses, while others are about regular children who happen upon magical creatures in their daily lives. I enjoyed all of the stories, and I think they'd be great read aloud.

However, as with other children's books of its era (such as The Princess and the Goblin), it contains a few violent parts that we might frown on today. These instances are few and far between, and shouldn't be take
...more
A Bookworm Reading
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
...more
Tasia
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
...more
Paul
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
Kaye Gambles
on chapter 3 a delightful book of short stories for a dose of escapism. Fun and adventurous.

This is so good it's just a shame I don't have a lot of time to actually listen to it. I would heartily recommend though for children and adults who love their adventure stories! Quite Appropriate for St Georges day although of course not all Dragons in this book end up at the end of a knights sword!!


This is a book I would like to own. I've listened to many of the stories and they take you away to a very
...more
L. Shosty
A great book for children. I like how the children in the stories were unruly and occasionally even a little naughty. So many kids books are sanitized these days. This was a good one for my six year-old seeing that children can occasionally be naughty and still basically be good. He enjoyed the protagonists, especially the boy and girl who sneak out of their home and travel to the North Pole. We would read these stories before bedtime, and I had a hard time calming him down to sleep afterwards. ...more
DoodlePanda
When I started reading this book I didn't realize it was written as fairy tales for children.
Honestly I downloaded it because it was about dragons and it was free!

Really nice read though, great stories about dragons :)
Shiloah
Read as a family. I loved this book! I have a fondness for her writing. She talks of the mother nursing her baby, the dragon curls up after eating the city like your cat curls up after eating a mouse. Cute, cute!
Aura
Jun 14, 2012 Aura rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children
A charming children's book containing eight stories where dragons also come in the picture. It was nice meeting again with a Hippogriff, however briefly, a Manticore and, obviously, dragons. Though I would have enjoyed seeing more personality in those dragons - not a bunch of enormous dragon flies, supposedly wicked and greedy, it's a children's book after all and it must be read in this mood (I, at least, have a special children's story mood).

I don't need to say how much I appreciate Nesbit's w
...more
Michelle Knudsen
Long ago, sometime around elementary school, I found a shelf of dragon-story collections in the local public library. At least, that’s my memory—a whole bunch of books that all had bunches of stories of dragons, and I worked my way through all of them, some of them more than once. I have often tried to find some of those books as an adult, but not having authors or titles or anything to go on, kept not-finding them. But I’m pretty sure this book was one of the ones I read back then and loved. So ...more
Kayla
Jul 20, 2014 Kayla rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All
Lovely book, i love how this auther writes and if she took some of these stories and extended them into books i wouldnt mind reading them, im shure thyey would be exellent.
John Martindale
Nesbit came up with quite a few original short stories with dragons. The first several I didn't really care for, the last several however I really enjoyed.
Guen
This book is a collection of short stories. I only read the first two. My son read the rest and enjoyed them. The copyright is 1901.
Sarah
This book which is over 100 years old was enjoyed by both the boys and me. It included some wonderful tales of adventure.
Rachel
Fun collection of fairy tales, all involving dragons in some capacity or other. Her writing style is just delightful.
Janette
These are children's stories about dragons, Nesbit wrote them in 1900, fun to read, she is a quirky author.
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Goodreads Librari...: Page numbers missing 3 22 Jul 10, 2013 05:05PM  
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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
...more
More about E. Nesbit...
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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.” 0 likes
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