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A Book Dragon

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Nonesuch, the last in a line of dragons, uses his unique ability to change in size to survive for six centuries, during which time he observes such different humans as a medieval monk, an eighteenth-century London chemist, and a modern American bookseller.
Mass Market Paperback, 198 pages
Published March 1991 by The Hearst Corporation (first published 1987)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  266 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How have I not reviewed this delightful book before? A tragedy!

This charming, charming tale is the story of a dragon who becomes obsessed with watching a monk illuminate beautiful book. Dragons, you see, can make themselves larger or smaller, depending on what they eat. A steady diet of humans will make them as large as a cottage, but this dragon, in order to watch the manuscript taking shape, starts eating smaller and smaller prey: vermin, insects, etc, so that he is small enough to hide within
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
(Available on Open Library.)

Read it twice now, not charmed. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, but not for me.
Maybe too episodic. No real substance; we just skim along the centuries. I do like the butterflies. And I like that a certain villain is also a bibliophile. But I just kept waiting for something to reach into my heart or soul and nothing ever did.

Not sure of the audience, either. Totally fine for kids age 10 up, but no child characters, and in many ways smart enough for adults. Maybe if I
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This is the first book I've read by Kushner, and, I must say, I love his style of writing. Here he tells the story of a dragon, Nonesuch, from his life in as a youngster five hundred years ago to today, as he guards his treasure, an illuminated manuscript of the Book of Hours. Kushner introduces some dragon lore that I've never heard before, such as a dragon's ability to change size by eating or fasting allows him to hide in modern times, and a dragon's being visible in the flames of a fire. Par ...more
Nov 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
If there were to be a list of prime examples of a list of hidden gems, this book would most certainly be in the top 10 of hidden gems. I had never heard of this author or book ever before. I was surprised to hear when a friend, who is very much into reading and about reading more obscure titles, thought of this book in a passing conversation about dragons in a bookshop.

I'm so very glad I read this book, it is so delightful in the best of ways and somehow, the charm of it all made me feel really
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A cute and fun story! I love dragons and books so having a story that combines them both just made my day. I loved Nonesuch so much, he was cute and the way he saw the world “His” people and “His” treasure was a sweet and refreshing narrative. I enjoyed following along with his travels, although more then once I was upset to see him leave his current home. The book is quite descriptive, which can be a little much, but I enjoyed it when it was describing things so perfectly I could picture it. I ...more
Alana Ellsworth
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: dragons
The dragon's name is Nonesuch.

I would stop there. However, I'm here to say this is a darling little book with an original story of a dragon who shrinks in size and hides in a monk's bookshop. Complete with the regrettable stories of the fates of Nonesuch's ancestors and his friendships with other creatures, A Book Dragon is certainly an enchanting read. It has somewhat difficult writing at times and there's other dragon fairy tales I prefer more. Even still, it is an excellent read for anyone w
Robert Runte
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-sf-f
Review from circa 1989

This is one of those books that almost makes me wish I was a classroom teacher again, because it's the sort of thing that demands to be read to a room full of 12 year olds.

A Book Dragon is the delightful tale of Nonesuch, a dragon who adopts an illustrated manuscript as his personal treasure and defends it against all comers. Nonesuch survives into the present day by shrinking to insect size, and becomes a fly-on-the-wall observer of various human comings and goings. Kushne
Cynthia Egbert
Oct 09, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: prospector-loans
This story was not as smooth as I would have liked but the story is so sweet and covers so much of the England history that I love so I appreciated it overall. If you love books and/or English history you will enjoy this one.

A few bites:

"For several generations now, they had lost the ability to breathe fire. The only traces that remained of this once mighty power were the internal fires that caused their eyes to glow and to give forth enough light for the dragons to find their way in pitch darkn
I own over three thousand books and have read many more. But this charming book is on my Top Ten all-time list. The story of a dragon who finds its ambition as a Book Dragon is whimsical and also sad, in a way. It takes Nonesuch the Dragon a while to find his bookworm ambition, six centuries in fact. The adventures take the reader through the ages, and children will be in wonderment at the description of plague-stricken London and caves full of treasure.

This is the kind of story that allows us t
Mary Catelli
A little marvel of a book. The story of the dragon Nonesuch, growing up with his grandmother, and what she taught him. Particularly the importance of guarding his treasure. How she left him and he learned how to grow smaller as well as larger, and how he came to regard an illuminated Book of Hours as his treasure, and what he had to do to guard it.

The interior art is something else. It's the lovely little marginalia like that it describes in the Book of Hours that give it a particularly nice tou
Apr 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a charming book. Though it was written for children, it's a story that adults will enjoy as well, filled with history and even some (well-hidden) philosophy. It's a short book and an easy read. While I loved the story, I also enjoyed the little illustrations that pepper the margins of the book as well, like an illuminated manuscript. The book's out of print, but snatch it up if you see it at a used book sale. I'm glad I did. ...more
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Awww, that was precious, though the ending was... odd? But yes, I would love a book dragon to reside in my library too!
Jun 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, novel
Great writing. A whimsical book about a good dragon who decides to guard an illuminated book as his treasure.

Not sure that kids today would like it esp. if they were trying to find books about dragons. Nonesuch doesn't do much but sleep and watch the centuries go by until he discovers himself and his illuminated book has come to America-on a plane. He stays awake now and saves the bookstore owner who has bought the box with the book from a greedy man who wants to build a hotel on his property.
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a gift when I was 7 or 8 years old (now 39)and I am eternally grateful that I did. Despite both my parents reading to me from a very young age I had little interest in reading on my own. So I was not that thrilled to have been gifted a book. I could not have been more wrong. The unique adventures and incite of Nonesuch was the spark that ignited a life long love of reading that continues to this very day. Thank you Donn Kushner for creating such a memorable character that ...more
Jun 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
A Book Dragon is not a story, so much as a bunch of barely related stories with a previously unmentioned theme being tacked on at the end. While the parts that are there, unrelated as they are, never veers into a territory I would call "bad," there's just nothing interesting about it. It's just bland text with nothing to offer. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone because I don't think anyone needs to. ...more
Jul 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I would probably give this a 3.5, but I rounded up.
I first read this book when I was younger (my name is still written in the cover in my late grade school handwriting), and I remember loving it back then.
I don't love it quite as much as an adult, but it was very cute. I enjoyed the dragon's adventures, especially his time at the abbey, and I loved the whimsy of the story. I'd definitely still recommend it to kids who are into fantasy stories.
Michelle Rivers
Aug 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
It may be my bias towards dragons speaking, but I LOVED this book! It felt fansiful, yet realistic at the same time. And watching Nonesuch grow felt natural, not too detailed. Everything about this book I love, from our dragon's travels to the characters he meets. It's a fun, quick read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The illustrations are a nice touch, as well! ...more
India C
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is simply a charming break from the world. I lost myself in Nonesuch's life, and never truly wanted to end. I wanted to pop in and out of his life for decades to come rather than a few quick weeks.

If you need a small relief from the blistery cold of winter, I suggest an adventure with Nonesuch!
Casey Miller
Jan 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Exactly the type of book I would have loved as a kid, and thoroughly enjoyed as an adult.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not much to say about this except that I loved it. Sweet, enjoyable, easy fantasy with a nice payoff at the end. And some nice scientific and historical details sprinkled in there too. Good stuff.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been trying to remember the name of this book forever. I read it a bunch of times as a kid and remember loving it.
Leisel The Spacemercat  Sempf
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story of the dragon who lived within the pages of a book for over 1000 years
Gwendolyn Simonalle
Jun 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Utterly charming and breathtaking. Stands out unequalled among dragon stories. Would give 10 stars if could.
Karen Anderson
Jul 09, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: dragons
Cute stories. The front cover blurb is oddly similar to present day.
Cassandra White
Mar 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fun review of history from the point of a non-human.
Pam Baddeley
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, children
This charming little tale combines two of my favourite things, books and dragons. Nonesuch starts off as a regular dragon, raised by his grandmother who has a hoard of gold, jewels etc, which every dragon needs, as she teaches him. He witnesses the demise of various family members at the hands of humans and also witnesses the savagery of human beings against each other in early mediaeval England. Then his grandmother sort of commits suicide by crawling down to the hot interior of the earth and w ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
Dragons must have a treasure to guard, or so says Nonesuch’s grandmother. But when Nonesuch finds himself alone and getting smaller, he embraces his new size and finds a new sort of treasure.

Over the course of the novel, Nonesuch travels through a number of time periods, stopping for longer stays in a Medieval monastery, and then again in the modern era. On the way, he passes through the War of the Roses, the Black Plague, the Fire of London, the dawn of the Age of Reason, and World War II (thro
Denae Christine
The only thing interesting? The dragon shrinks when he stops eating. He talks with random animals on unimportant things and gets a sentence on defending his book from bugs. He spends pages talking with his mom and walking through the very hot cavern. He spends chapters listening to a bookstore be cajoled and threatened by a rich buyer, and then (view spoiler)
Could have been 3 pages. I kept waiting for it to get in
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This charming fantasy tale concerns Nonesuch, a dragon who begins his life in the forest, but then becomes the inspiration for an illuminated figure in a medieval manuscript. Because all dragons must guard a treasure, Nonesuch decides that he must guard this book. He goes to sleep in the box where his book is kept and, through various adventures and events, wakes up again in a modern-day bookshop. Truly a delightful story, and one I enjoyed just as much upon my re-read as I did the first time ou ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
September 18, 2015 - Reading this at the same time as my son (each on our own)... it is pure delight so far!!

This book was a delightful read. The subject matter would delight most boys.... the author has a lovely way of writing without 'dumbing' down, as sometimes is the case with modern books aimed at youth. He pulls in history, mythology into this fascinating fairy tale.

I was delighted to learn that this author was a local author from my city! Definite recommend.
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