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The Reluctant Dragon: 75th Anniversary Edition

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  3,297 ratings  ·  309 reviews
The Reluctant Dragon is an 1898 children's story by Kenneth Grahame (originally published as a chapter in his book Dream Days), which served as the key element to the 1941 feature film with the same name from Walt Disney Productions. The story has also been set to music as a children's operetta by John Rutter, with words by David Grant. The story takes place in the ...more
Kindle Edition
Published May 7th 2018 by JA (first published 1898)
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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
Deborah O'Carroll
May 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Recommended to Deborah by:
Jul 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Laurel Hicks
The Ferdinand of the dragon world. Delightful!
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? I also have hundreds of detailed reports
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 ...more
Megan Larson
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Mar 31, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sophie (Blame Chocolate) *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
Anna Mussmann
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Stacy Kooker
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
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
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Cathy aka The Attached Mama
Go! Read this to your! You will thank me. This was such a fun book to read aloud. Especially if you can do a decent English countryside accent. We were all laughing out loud. The version with illustrations by Ernest H. Shepherd is the best.
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.
Jolly little children's tale about a poetry loving dragon who is as lazy as any of us.
laura (bookies & cookies)
Fun picture book with gorgeous illustrations & an old world European charm
Dec 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, library
adorable, dragon is a good guy. love the colors and how the characters help each other out

This is just a very easy and fluffy children's book. Exactly what I needed after a 400 page book.
Manuel Alfonseca
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.
K. Anna Kraft
I have arranged my takeaway thoughts into a haiku:

"Ego gets action;
To cure one of reluctance,
Increase vanity."
3.0 Stars.

This wasn’t supposed to be my first read of 2019, but I just remembered that it was one of the books I needed to read for uni and so it couldn’t be helped. Luckily, it was a short one - it only took me a few minutes to get through this - so here is my first review of the year: The Reluctant Dragon is a sweet, diverting story - quite different from usual dragon lore, even though picking up on common themes. This novella features a cultured, lazy, goodhearted dragon that enjoys coming up
Barb Middleton
An oldie moldie. But goodie. Ew... we have some really old books in our library. First published in 1898, "The Reluctant Dragon" shows how Kenneth Grahame was influenced by Victorian writers with voice. The humorous and stuffy narration reminds me of Lemony Snicket in his Series of Unfortunate Events, Lois Lowry in "The Willoughbys", and Pseudonymous Bosch in his Bad Books series, poking fun at Victorian narrators. "The Reluctant Dragon" starts out like a fairy tale, "Long ago..." and ends ...more
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Kenneth Grahame was a British 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.
“No, I can't stop for sonnets; my mother is sitting up. I'll look you up tomorrow, sometime or other, and do for goodness' sake try and realise that you're a pestilential scourge, or your find yourself in a most awful fix. Good-night!” 9 likes
“You see all the other fellows were so active and earnest and all that sort of thing- always rampaging, and skirmishing, and scouring the desert sands, and pacing the margin of the sea, and chasing knights all over the place, and devouring damsels, and going on generally- whereas I liked to get my meals regular and then to prop my back against a bit of rock and snooze a bit, and wake up and think of things going on and how they kept going on just the same, you know!” 7 likes
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