Dragons - Popular Children's Books Characters
For centuries, dragons have captured the imagination of adults and children alike, and the phenomena is no less alive today than it was all those years ago. Little boys continue to slay dragons and children's stories of fairies and children's books of dragons still hold a firm place in children's literature. Dragons show up in children's poems about dragons, and stories about a knight in shining armor who rescues the fair maiden from the clutches of an evil prince who has her held in a tower guarded by dragons are still selling well.
St. George And The Dragon
One of the most well-known stories of knights and dragons is the story of St. George the Dragon Slayer, which most adults will remember from their youth. St. George is the patron saint of England and in fact was around long before the medieval story was ever written about him. The story of St. George and the Dragon originated in Roman times in the city of Cyrene in North Africa. George was a Roman soldier (not a soldier of the British Empire) and came from a place close to Turkey. Nevertheless, the story is told in many different cultures, each adopting George and adapting the story to fit the country. The rescue of the fair princess by the gallant knight and the subsequent death of the dragon fit the story line perfectly.
Are They Good or Bad?
While dragons are mostly painted dark and evil, there have been several attempts to clear their names, as it were, and establish them as good as well. The evil dragons breathed fire, killed, ate people and other living things, and were fearsome and ferocious. Then there is "Dragon", the lady dragon of Shrek who is not evil but quite protective and she uses her fire to protect those she cares about. In Christopher Golden's book Strangewood (1999) we meet Fiddlestick, a small musically emotive dragon, hardly scary. Dragon children's books for little ones include a sweet series called Dragon Egg Books. They are beginning readers written by Mallory Loehr. Another children's book about a dragon was written by Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary and comes from their song, "Puff the Magic Dragon" which became popular in the '70s. The book tells the story of Puff, hardly a tough, fire-breathing, scary, dragon. Rather, this dragon is a playmate to a little boy. There is a new series out now set in a fictional viking world. The books, by author Cressida Cowell, feature, among other dragons, one called Toothless. Toothless is the hunting dragon (without teeth) belonging to Hiccup the viking. The entire series is about dragons and it's light, humorous, and geared toward kids. The second book in the series, How to Train Your Dragon, has been made into a cartoon film and has done very well in that genre. Kids love these books and the movies as well.
Dragons in Folk Tales, Short Stories, Harry Potter, and the Internet
In folklore, dragons are fabulous beasts representing spiritual aspects. Some cultures hold dragons in high esteem as a symbol of magical, benevolent, spiritual guidance and help. They were used to denote evil in folk tales and sagas from long ago. Generally, children's books about dragons do not feature evil dragons as heroes, rather they get slain by the good guys. The Harry Potter series features dragons in various states of "dangerousness". They appear in the context of magic and evil, and are also used to guard treasures and protect secrets.
To gain an introduction to dragons, reading some short stories about dragons is a good idea. Kids can read The Dragon Rock by Ellena Ashley, or listen to The Princess and The Dragon, a colorful kids picture book on the internet, both of which are dragon shorts stories that help children get an idea of what lies ahead in the magical and mystical realm of dragons. Dragon games for kids can also be found in abundance on the internet as well as in some game stores and shops that cater to kids.