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The Reluctant Dragon

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,926 ratings  ·  407 reviews
In this beloved classic story, a young boy befriends a poetry-loving dragon living in the Downs above his home. When the town-folk send for St. George to slay the dragon, the boy needs to come up with a clever plan to save his friend and convince the townsfolk to accept him. This story first appeared as a chapter in Grahame's Dream Days and was first published as a separat ...more
Hardcover, 58 pages
Published September 1st 1938 by Holiday House (first published 1898)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  3,926 ratings  ·  407 reviews

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Ivonne Rovira
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ivonne by: Audible
Kenneth Grahame, best known for his rollicking The Wind in the Willows, wrote this beautiful short story in 1898, and it’s a classic that simply doesn’t age. In this time of COVID-19, Audible made quite a few of its children’s books available for free, and I took advantage and listened to Anton Lesser’s flawless narration. A silver lining to this dark, dark cloud. ...more
Jan 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really cute story.

Though, I have to wonder if a modern child is going to get all the humor that the original child audience was able to get. They'll still think it' funny, of course, but some of the humor is more specific to the era that it was written.

For instance, when the dragon says "You must tell him to go away at once, please. Say he can write if he likes, but I can't give him an interview. I'm not seeing anybody at present." the modern kids are going to get that the dragon is just goin
Deborah O'Carroll
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Deborah by:
Jim Ef
Jan 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
As we all know dragons are mostly famous for one thing and that is…… poetry.

An old man narrates a story to two siblings ( a boy and a girl ), but this one takes a different approach to the whole dragon vs knight tales.

A short and funny tale that will leave you with a smile.

There is a moment when the brother says “I looked up at him and wondered whether I should ever live to smoke a big pipe with that careless sort of majesty!” I have two things to say here
1st. I’m glad times changed on thi
Manuel Alfonseca
Feb 01, 2016 rated it liked it
ENGLISH: A singular parody of the legend of St. George and the dragon, with no princess, a dragon that refuses to fight, and a boy who acts as middleman.

ESPAÑOL: Singular parodia de la leyenda de San Jorge y el dragón, pero sin princesa, con un dragón que se niega a luchar, y un chico que actúa como intermediario.
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love The Wind in the Willows and this has much of the same spirit in a shorter version. Wise, goofy animals with a philosophical bent who, for the most part, just want to be left alone to ponder the world. A cute satire on the chivalric romance and upending expectations about bravery, adventure, and perhaps crucially, violence. And this is cute in the best way; far from twee or cloying. ...more
There once was a shepherd boy who read a lot and thus knew much about fairies, witches, and dragons. So, when a dragon moves into the hill by his family's farm, he goes to talk to the dragon. Turns out that the dragon is actually very nice, and has no inclination to cause anyone any harm at all. He really would just like to write and recite his poetry.
But, the townspeople are afraid and, even though the dragon hasn't harmed anyone, they want to get rid of him. Will the boy be able to keep the dr
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Kenneth Grahame is, of course, much better known for the Wind in the Willows. This book is an almost unknown gem by comparison. Kids and adults love dragons, and this one is drawn with such humour and wit that he is totally adorable. As a child I could never get enough of this book, and my daughter and her children are the same. The language will stretch a younger child but it is refreshing to have a child's book that does not 'dumb down' the writing. The illustrations are a delight and it is a ...more
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reread. Have loved several different editions/ illustrators.

This time I appreciated the Ernest Shepherd drawings, even though he couldn't decide how plump the dragon was, couldn't make it the size of "four carthorses," and couldn't decide what kind of armor St. George was lounging about in.

I love the vocabulary stretchers. I loved William Steig and *The Phantom Tollbooth* when I was a child for the same reason - if I'd known of this then I would have loved it.

Reread from because
Luisa Knight
Here's a pretty fun and unique fairy tale!

Written with a little tongue and cheek, this tale is sure to please. There's a little boy, who's name is "Boy", a reluctant, can't be bothered dragon and a sparkle-on-his-tooth kind of knight that all agree to strike a deal and play a comical charade in order to meet the demands of the silly village people. Enjoy this uncommon lark!

Ages: 9+

Cleanliness: normal fairy-tale magic. "O Lord" is said.

**Like my reviews? Then you should follow me! Because I have
Laurel Hicks
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Ferdinand of the dragon world. Delightful!
Shanna Gonzalez
Jun 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-08-12
The Reluctant Dragon is a mild-mannered specimen of his breed who, unlike the "active and earnest" fellows who used to charge around battling knights, has survived long enough to develop his passion for poetry. He is befriended by an intelligent young shepherd boy, who is placed in an awkward position when the villagers discover the dragon's presence. Although the dragon has harmed no one, the villagers are so aroused that they call on Saint George to battle this "pestilential scourge." When Sai ...more
Althea Ann
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course, I had 'The Wind in the Willows' as a child. I truly wish I'd had this story as well. It's less well known - but I'm not sure why.

This is a truly wonderful story-within-a-story: two children, fancying that the snow tracks they've followed from their yard are those of a dragon, encounter a kindly neighbor, who tells them a story - of course, about a boy who meets a literarily-inclined, and unusually good-tempered dragon.

Whimsical, warm and clever.
4.5 stars

I thought this was really cute! I read Wind in the Willows not long ago, which is probably what the author is best known for. But while poking around, I came across this book and intended to read it, but with one thing and another, I didn't end up getting to this. Then I discovered that Audible had it with a different narrator (I have a copy with multiple actors) so I decided to give it a try. It was very enjoyable and I thought the reader was very easy to understand. But I've been list
Megan Larson
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-and-ya
What a clever twist on a dragon tale. The shepherd boy is such a great reader of fairy tales that he takes the advent of a dragon to his hometown quite in stride. The only problem is that, although the dragon is thoroughly tame, the townspeople love a good fight and absolutely insist that a dragon-slayer be sent for. Thankfully, the man in question, none other than St. George himself, knows how people sometimes exaggerate, and doesn't care too much for killing. The solution is agreed upon by the ...more
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
OMG, loved this. my six year old and i were reading for a library list and this story, oh this story is so witty and hilarious. i laughed many times. we are starting wind and the willows now. tickle a funny bone long forgotten, read this one.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Reluctant Dragon is a delight of language and plot. The pacifist and poetical dragon, the wise and well-read boy, and the compassionate St. George come together in a small story that I love to read and hear aloud.
Sophie (BlameChocolate) *on hiatus*
Another cute fairy tale!

I enjoyed myself way too much and found myself so attached to the endearing dragon that I was seriously fearing for his life! He was just such a sweetiepie and I mean, a dragon who loves reading and making up poetry? How adorable is that??

The boy was also incredibly entertaining and resourceful and will definitely resonate with a lot of readers who just don't feel like they fit in with anyone, and especially their own families. He was just so spunky and kind of a drama q
Anna Mussmann
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
So very, very BRITISH! Really, it’s a satire on Britishness, isn’t it?

It’s hilarious and quite charming, but I wouldn’t read it to kids, despite the illustrations. I’d rather my children internalize and love the archetypes of fairy tales before they read something that skewers those themes.

It would be perfect once they are older and have already enjoyed a number of British books.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
The dragon is such a cutie! I'd invite him to tea.
I "read" this in audiobook form and the narrator (Anton Lesser) did a very good job. The author (Kenneth Grahame) needed to have researched dragon sounds though because at one point the dragon purred and at another barked which just sounded so odd.
Jul 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
There's so many good children's books and comics that I've come across recently, like The Little Prince, Calvin and Hobbes, etc. This is one of them. There's humour and also a hint of intellect, that you will only get if you are not a child. Books like these are such good alternatives. I don't know why people tell their kids stories like Cinderalla, The Little Mermaid, etc. 🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ ...more
Stacy Kooker
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my, so delightful! I was laughing out loud. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Anton Lesser. This will be a really fun audiobook for when the boys are familiar with Saint George and The Dragon. Similar to Winnie the Pooh or Wind in the Willows, though some of the humor may be lost on little ears, the language is well worth reading aloud before they can read it to themselves.
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anton Lesser is the perfect narrator for this wonderful classic story! I so enjoyed listening to the book this morning--an especially fun listen!
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Kenneth Grahame, best known for writing The Wind in the Willows, wrote this book. Ernest H. Shepard, best known for illustrating Winnie-The-Pooh, illustrated this book. With a winning team like that, it is no surprise that this well-loved book has become a classic.

The plot of this story is straightforward enough: A dragon moves into a cave near a village. The villagers want the dragon gone. The villagers hire a knight to fight the dragon. But there are such delightful twists and turns along the
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Subtle. Simple. Short. No chapters, no needless introductions, no worthless explanations. Lovely.

This is a new layer that adds to the classic story of St. George and the Dragon. I felt like Grahame expected children to already be familiar with the ancient poetry, so one could read this and find all the little subtleties to it. From this book we are to see the legend from the child's perspective, because of course that is important.

I appreciated the nod to the fantastical, the expectations of res
Aug 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I promised that I have read this book somewhere, maybe once upon a time, for it is familiar but I just cannot place where.

For me the writing was bland and the characters didn't have much of a personality besides annoying, vexing and what the. And to top the flat personalities the main characters with the exception of St. George didn't have names but were called by their place in the book then given with "and that was their skill while they were good at it".

It would be interesting to see how D
Niki (nikilovestoread)
I had read this previously, but decided to read it aloud to my children this time. My kids really enjoyed it. I love the timeless feeling of a young boy enthralled with knights and dragons who gets the chance to meet a real dragon one day. Though the villagers are scared and want to rid the area of this "scourge," the boy realizes that there is really nothing to fear from this dragon and befriends him. Not only that, but he brings the knight and the dragon together and they all become friends. I ...more
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: boys-books
Thoroughly enjoyed this little book. The writing was fresh and witty, and Grahame inverted the classic St. George kills dragon tale.

This dragon is reluctant to fight, preferring instead to work on his verses. The shepherd's son knows from his extensive reading of natural history and fairy tales that a dragon must fight when St. George comes to town. But this dragon balks. So the three devise a spectacle in which all keep their honor, the townspeople are treated to a worthy show, and the dragon g
I'd never heard of this book before I did a search on Shepard illustrated children's literature. What a sweet little gem of a book! Not much to the story. St. George vs the Dragon, except this time the Dragon is a good guy. It's the poetic prose that makes it something special. Love this book. ...more
Aug 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s-book
This was a delightful little story. I loved the twist in the story and the illustrations added to the story in a wonderful way. It ignited the imagination and I could see the story play out like a movie in my mind. This was a fab read.
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Kenneth Grahame was a Scottish writer, most famous for The Wind in the Willows (1908), one of the classics of children's literature. He also wrote The Reluctant Dragon; both books were later adapted into Disney films.

كينيث جرام (Arabic)
Κέννεθ Γκρέιαμ (Greek)

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