Sunday, August 14, 2011

2-4-1: Dragonbreath

Ursula Vernon's first Dragonbreath book surprised me by being as educational as the fourth. The first book did work harder to clarify that a school for reptiles and amphibians is normal, but the dragon family is unique because of their mythical nature. In fact, Danny comes in from some teasing, especially from the school bully, a Komodo dragon. Danny's struggles with fire breathing are also spelled out, a theme that returns throughout the series.

The combination of text and comic-style works well, although I have to remind myself to read the pictures even when their placement whispers "illustration" to my old-school brain. The images convey as much plot as the words, so skipping a drawing gives the same effect of gluing the pages together. I liked Danny's adventures with giant squid, his hoarding instincts around the sunken treasure, and Wendell's reaction to dry land after returning from their research trip to the Sargasso Sea, a field trip Danny found much more relaxing than a visit to the library to do research on oceans. Very educational, especially the parts about the snorkel-bat!

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