This 75th anniversary edition introduces a whole new generation to a classic tale from the author of The Wind in the Willows. The Reluctant Dragon tells the tale of a boy who befriends a poetry-loving dragon. Though the dragon is friendly, only the boy has been daring enough to approach him. The townsfolk immediately assume he is dangerous simply because he is a dragon. So, they send for the brave St. George to slay him-slaying dragons is what St. George is famous. The boy devises a clever scheme to save the dragon and convinces St. George to go along. They stage a fake joust in which the dragon appears to be slain. Eventually, the joust is revealed as a farce and the townsfolk realize there is nothing to be afraid of and the dragon becomes an accepted member of the community.
The moral of the story is clear-that you must not judge a person solely by appearances. This timeless theme is still so relevant and important today, perhaps even more than ever. In an age where we are increasingly becoming forced to jump to conclusions so that we can communicate in 140-character messages, it's important for all of us to remember that it's okay to take your time to get to know someone.
Classics should be a key part of any child's reading. While they can seem to take us back in history to a simpler time, kids can still relate with childhood experiences and challenges before televisions, video games and iPads. In addition, classics are important for students as they begin to experience different literary styles and build their comprehension.
Publisher Holiday House recommends this book for ages 7 to 10.
While this is a great piece of literature, the formality of the writing and the complicated sentence structures may be challenging for some young readers. But that's all the more reason to encourage them to experience this wonderful tale. The story may be best read aloud with fourth or fifth graders at home or in class so they can hear the richness of the language.
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