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12 June 2010

Book Review: Kenny and the Dragon


Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi


I loved this book. From the first sentences, I knew it would be the kind of prose that makes me all giddy;
 

Many years ago ... Hold on, I know what you are thinking. You're thinking a book about a dragon should start with 'Once upon a time,' But this one doesn't, because frankly, I don't really know what 'Once upon a time' means. Now, I was once upon a horse, and that was fun. Also, I was once upon a knight galloping on his horse, but that's another story altogether. So instead, let me start our tale with this: Once upon a farm, in a town just west from yours, and on a Wednesday many years ago, a rabbit farmer, his wife, and their son, Kenneth, were preparing to sit down to supper.

DiTerlizzi owes an obvious debt to Kenneth Grahame, which he freely acknowledges by naming the rabbit son Kenneth and his dragon friend Grahame, mentioning The Wind in the Willows in the first chapter and ending the book with Kenny and Grahame about to read The Reluctant Dragon together, described by Kenny as, "...some fairy tale by a British guy."

I confess that one of the reasons I am so charmed by this slim tome lies within the character of Kenny, a prolific reader who struggles with fitting into the world around him. Kenny reminds me of my son, who doesn't yet struggle with the world but may, someday. I was so pleased to find this fantasy with a hero so like my son, not-so-well-read adults who are depicted not as know-nothings but, rather, as characters of wisdom and the kind of intelligence one doesn't learn in books, and a dandy drake named Grahame.  Grahame may have been my favorite character. I want him to come live in my backyard.