Review: Kenny and the Dragon

Review: Kenny & the Dragon

           This is an imaginative retelling of Kenneth Grahame’s short story, The Reluctant Dragon. Tony DiTerlizzi has greatly improved the story. This adaptation has well-developed, realistic, positive relationships between the characters. The people are small anthropomorphic woodland animals, which DiTerlizzi has illustrated in charming sketches throughout the book. Kenny, the main character of the story, is a smart, young, bookworm rabbit. His shepherd parents clearly love him and are very supportive of his reading. (Yes, the rabbits are tending a herd of sheep. There are pictures. It is adorable). 

          Kenny isn’t always understood by his classmates, but he several close friends. There is an elder friend/mentor lending him books from his bookstore, and now a dragon who loves to read. The new relationship between Kenny and the dragon is very well developed, from initial fear and curiosity, to trust and enjoyment of common interests. 

          What I like most about this book is how Kenny’s parents are always doing things to stay involved in Kenny’s life and show they care about him. Despite their initial fears of the dragon, they trust Kenny, and even invite his new friend to dinner. Complications arise when the dragon is sited by the townsfolk. Unfortunately, dragons have a poor reputation of starting fires and eating . Kenny worries that he may lose his new friend when a knight is pulled out of retirement. He reacts with realistic emotions, as do his parents and friends. The plot maintains a good pace throughout with interesting things happening in every chapter. It’s a fairly quick read, just fifteen chapters written at a manageable level for preteens. This is a story I have enjoyed reading several times, and plan to read again in the future. 

Five out of five stars.