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Merlin and the Dragons

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  351 ratings  ·  41 reviews
One dark night young King Arthur goes to the old magician, Merlin, and hears the story about Merlin's childhood--a story of dragons, the cruel King Vortigern, and Uther Pendragon, the High King before Arthur. Young Arthur comes away knowing that he can rightfully place the crown on his own head. A touching story illustrated with stunning oil paintings. Full color.
Hardcover, 25 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Dutton Books
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard
In Merlin and the Dragons, Yolen recounts much of Merlin's origin story, as the aged wizard tells it to a sleepless young Arthur, using simple but evocative language which at times seems to ring like poetry. Li Ming's gorgeous illustrations enhance the story and heighten the dramatic tension. Merlin and the Dragons is a book for all ages, and especially for lovers of the Arthurian myths.

A longer version of this review appears on my blog, The Bookwyrm's Hoard.
NS - Cami Houston
Grade 3-5- Yolen has created a stirring tale within a tale. Young Arthur wakes one stormy night from uneasy dreams and seeks out the company of Merlin. Sensing the boy's readiness to learn of his legacy in claiming the crown he wears without conviction, Merlin tells him of another fatherless boy, Emrys, who dreamed baffling dreams of dragons and crumbling stone towers. When the cruel Vortigern attempted to take over all of Britain, Emrys's dreams became prophetic and catalytic. Merlin ends his ...more
Neil R. Coulter

I love children's books with beautiful illustrations. This one is excellent. I've enjoyed reading this one to my sons, and taking time on some pages just to admire the gorgeous pictures. It's a wonderful version of part of the Merlin legend.

Ellie  Dynek
I found this book on the library shelves, and couldn't put it down for the life of me. It was so creative and beautifully told, I really enjoyed it from start to finish
Raven Tyjha
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: elementary school kids
Recommended to Raven by: random selection from Alexa Echo
Shelves: fantasy
This story was a wonderful little half hour audible and I think it will be one of my nieces favorites when she's a bit older. I had a great time listening to it. It's well written and wonderfully read. At points it gave me chills in dramatic parts and was uplifting in the end.

(view spoiler)
Summary: Merlin and the Dragons written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Li Ming
This book is about a young King Arthur knows that because he pulled a sword from a stone he is called King of all Britain. But he has troubled dreams that make him question his reign. After a dream, Arthur walks the castle and ends up at the old magician, Merlins, door. Merlin tells of his childhood to give Arthur a peace about his fatherless kinghood. Merlin's childhood is a story of dragons, a cruel King Vortigern,
Apr 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Jane Yolen is known for her innovative explorations of Arthurian mythology, but this book just missed the mark for me. Its short format didn't really allow much room for her to get into the story, but the framing narrative was an interesting touch. We often hear about Arthur being raised by his foster father and the events surrounding the pulling of the sword from the stone, but rarely does anyone explore the transitory period between Arthur's rural childhood and assuming the role of King of ...more
Merlin and the Dragons is traditional literature mixed with fairy tale. This book details the events of the traditional Sword in the Stone story. However, Young King Arthur is having bad dreams. Arthur seeks the advice of Merlin the magician. Merlin shared a story with young Arthur. Arthur did not think he was worthy of being a king. However, once he heard the story that Merlin shared he knew he had a father and was destined to be king. This story has great illustrations throughout. It was a ...more
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Young King Arthur can’t sleep, so he goes to see Merlin for comfort and companionship. Merlin tells Arthur the story of a young, fatherless boy, Emrys, who has dreams and is an outcast. He finds himself face to face with High King Vortigern, who wants to take over Britain. When the villagers can’t seem to build Vortigern’s tower successfully, it is Emrys who dreams the solution to the problem.
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gorgeously illustrated, but it's much too complicated a plot, with concepts too abstract and complex, for small children. Though I'm not a fan of the Arthurian legends, this episode seems to fit just fine. The introductory note helps. 3.5 stars rounded up because I just can't get enough of the pictures and will look for more by the artist.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This seems to Alexa's audible Children's book, because if I ask my device to tell me a children's story, this is it, an audible version read by Kevin Kline. Good story about Merlin and Arthur, bad dreams and dragons.
Pamela Powell
Incredible illustrations complement this tale of a young Arthur who has bad dreams and the wise Merlin who tells him a story. I love any story with dragons and this one is well done.
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful book and story with fantastic (pun intended lol) illustrations. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy tale. This one is certainly not just for children.
K.D. Bissonette
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful book!!!
Kristen (BeyondSecretPages)
It's cool. Interesting, those dragons.
Thora Hrafnsdottir
Feb 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: daughter-sort
This is one of my daughter's childhood books. She's kept perhaps a half dozen of those - this is one.
I also still enjoy the book - words & pictures both.
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lightyear Records produces "Stories to Remember"--a CD collection of outstanding children's literature that combines storytelling and musical collaboration of great artists. I listened to this book, narrated by Kevin Kline with music composed by Michel Rubini(1991), and was instantly transported to a mythical place of dragons, kings, and castles. This was a very polished, professional production whose music and storytelling were mesmerizing--with music and drama reminiscent of Lord of the Rings. ...more
I've been scouring the town for good children's books with which to introduce my kid sisters to the Arthurian legends, and having little success until I stumbled upon this gem in a discard bin. The story is skillfully told so as to be thrilling and engaging for the kids, instead of bogging down among ponderous backstory or lists of names, yet with a true devotee's faithfulness to the heart of the legend that is richly satisfying for an Arthur buff such as myself. All that, coupled with vivid, ...more
Young Arthur feels unworthy to be king. We is so worried about it that one sleepless night he seeks out Merlin, who tells Arthur a story about a young boy whose dreams came true. Through the story, Arthur learns the truth of where he came from and the power of dreams.

A lovely story of the young King Arthur and Merlin. It is believable that the young Arthur would have felt unsure of himself and his right to the throne. And Yolen spins a delightful and moving tale about Arthur and Merlin, which is
Mar 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A young King Arthur is having trouble sleeping because of his disturbing dreams. He goes to Merlin for reassurance; but instead he gets a story, a story of two dragons, one red and one white. At the end of their battle the red dragon lies dead and the white flies away. Merlin tells Arthur at the end of the tale that the story is not just a story but is part of Arthur's history.

Exceptional illustrations!
May 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great children's book that touches on a small piece of the Legend of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It is a story told to Arthur by Merlin when he is still a child and has first become king. The story gives the reader a glimpse into the childhood of Merlin and the development of his wisdom and magic. I used it as a read-aloud when teaching my students what makes a story a legend.
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Gorgeous illustrations highlight this story about Merlin and a young King Arthur. The narrative is engaging and the story is filled with drama. We enjoyed reading this story together. I would love to listen to this story being narrated by Kevin Kline - we'll have to see if our local library has an audio version.
Rich and vivid illustrations (the dragons are particularly striking); interestingly, this is not the Merlin of the Round Table and Nimue, but is based on the tale of Emrys (the boy-who-would-be-Merlin), Vortigern, etc. from Geoffrey of Monmouth's "Historia Regum Brittaniae" -- a novel approach to the Arthurian story in children's literature.
Li Ming's 2-page spread illustrations are filled with magnificent details and exciting colors. Overall, the illustrations are more exciting and memorable than the tale of King Arthur and his knights.
Jun 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Young King Arthur doubts that he is a true king. So, Merlin tells him a story of Dragons, of good and evil and reveals to him a secret.

This was a nice book, good illustrations and interesting story.
Excellent read-aloud legend with amazing artwork. My boys (ages 6 and 8) loved it, tracked with the story, and were able to make connections to the legend of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Highly recommended!
Oct 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful illustrations and one of my favorite tales of Merlin. Though the author forgot to mention the White Dragon represented the Saxons, hence the start and on going war of the Saxon invasion of Britain.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I want to buy this book. After I read this, I fell in love with it. The story fits so well in the story of King Arthur. I know that I will be reading this book to my future classroom for a medieval history lesson.
May 04, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
i thought this story was ok but had nothing to do with me because im not in london and wont be becoming king any time soon yet i was forced to read it
Friend of Pixie (F.O.P.)
Gorgeous illustrations add fire to the already exciting story of Merlin's boyhood.
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Jane Yolen is a novelist, poet, fantasist, journalist, songwriter, storyteller, folklorist, and children’s book author who has written more than three hundred books. Her accolades include the Caldecott Medal, two Nebula Awards, the World Fantasy Award, three Mythopoeic Awards, the Kerlan Award, two Christopher Awards, and six honorary doctorate degrees from colleges and universities in ...more