The Reluctant Dragon

by Kenneth Grahame

Other authorsMichael Hague (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1983



Local notes

Fic Gra





Holt, Rinehart, and Winston (1983), 42 pages


In this illustrated, abridged version of the original, the boy who finds the dragon in the cave knows it is a kindly, harmless one, but how can he convince the frightened villagers and, especially, St. George the dragon killer that there is no cause for concern?


Original publication date

1898 (text)
1983 (illustrations)

Physical description

42 p.; 8.37 x 0.38 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member AltheaAnn
Of course, I had 'The Wind in the Willows' as a child. I truly wish I'd had this story as well. It's less well known - but I'm not sure why.

This is a truly wonderful story-within-a-story: two children, fancying that the snow tracks they've followed from their yard are those of a dragon, encounter
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a kindly neighbor, who tells them a story - of course, about a boy who meets a literarily-inclined, and unusually good-tempered dragon.

Whimsical, warm and clever.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
A new dragon has moved in and befriended a local boy who knows a lot about literature. Though he’s harmless and a philosopher rather than a fighter, the locals call in a knight. Suddenly there are people wanting a fight, and the dragon has to stage one to get the peace and acceptance he so
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LibraryThing member pocketmermaid
Adorable, simple little story of the friendship between a brave boy and a dragon who doesn't want to fight. It's all about peace, man. And friendship. And not making snap judgments.

(I read this because it is the source material for the retelling "Kenny and the Dragon" by Tony DiTerlizzi, which
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expands on this delightful tale quite wonderfully.)
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LibraryThing member ksager
The Reluctant Dragon is about a little boy who discovers and dragon new to the neighborhood, whom he convinces to put on a false battle with St. George in order to win the hearts of the skeptical townspeople. The dragon willingly obliges, and the three participants become heroes to the village.
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Although this story is a twisted take on the life of Saint George, this would be a fantastic introduction of the saint to young children.
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LibraryThing member unclebob53703
From a story-in-a-story in Dream Days. Got this because I loved Michael Hague's illustrations for The Wind in the Willows. Not disappointed.
LibraryThing member Sullywriter
The seventy-fifth anniversary edition of this classic from Holiday House features an introduction from Leonard Marcus offering some interesting historical background.
LibraryThing member flamingrosedrakon
I promised that I have read this book somewhere, maybe once upon a time, for it is familiar but I just cannot place where.

For me the writing was bland and the characters didn't have much of a personality besides annoying, vexing and what the. And to top the flat personalities the main characters
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with the exception of St. George didn't have names but were called by their place in the book then given with "and that was their skill while they were good at it".

It would be interesting to see how Disney ended up re-making this to their own since I did watch a bit on Youtube. Otherwise this is one book whose easy writing and simple drawings will more than likely attract the attention of younger crowds rather than older ones.
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LibraryThing member Sile
Why did I read it? I had read The Wind in the Willows when I was a child, and only recently discovered that Kenneth Grahame had authored other books, about which I was unaware. This story sounded interesting.

What's it about? Two children are following footprints in the snow, when a neighbour calls
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them in for warming tea, and begins to tell them the story of the friendship between a boy, and a dragon living in a cave up on the Downs.

What did I like about it? It's a very nice, old fashioned story for children. Very English.

The audio was clear, without any errors.

What didn't I like? I think I may have chosen an awful audio version to which to listen. It was a full cast production, but with American actors, and, honestly, it spoilt all the fun of the story. I think if it had been a cast with English accents, it might have been better.

Would I recommend it? Oh yes, but not this particular edition. A great bedtime story I imagine.
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LibraryThing member fuzzi
Whimsical story of a dragon who isn't interested in fighting, even when the infamous St George arrives to remove "the scourge". Adults will appreciate the subtle humor.
LibraryThing member wishanem
I had never read this short story before, and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Stories from so long ago don't always hold up, especially in terms of vocabulary that a kid can grasp. No such worries here, while there were a couple words that were unusual, they didn't get in the
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way of my kid's comprehension. There's a frame story that was cute, rather than a waste of time as they generally are, which I appreciated. The actual story, after it gets going, pokes fun at the whole idea of knights slaying dragons in a way that was funny to me, and it entertained my 5 year old immensely.
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LibraryThing member 1Avidfan
This is a wonderful story to read aloud to children. I enjoyed it so much. It is just perfect length for one long sitting. The language Kenneth Grahame used was delightful, with just a dozen or so unusual words to be explained, but using the old words added to the authentic feel of the story set
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long ago.
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(129 ratings; 4)
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