January 16 – Appreciate a Dragon Day

Happy Dragon Day!

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The Library Dragon written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Michael P. White (1994)

The new librarian at Sunrise School, Miss Lotta Scales, was a real dragon. She was serious about keeping the library books safe. And that meant every book stayed on the shelves. Everyone was afraid of her, even the school principal. Miss Scales destroyed every book in which dragons were misrepresented or treated cruelly. (Including the book featured below, Saint George and the Dragon.) One day, a little girl entered the library. She had lost her glasses and could not read the sign above her head which read ‘Do Not Touch The Books, For Display Only’. This child, Molly Brickmeyer, bumped into a shelf and a book fell into her hands. So she sat down and began reading Stuff, The Magic Dragon aloud. A class of second graders passing the library heard her reading and stopped in to listen. A class of fourth graders at recess on the playground came to the open window to listen. Even Miss Scales was listening. She took the book from Molly’s hands. She checked to see if there were any smudges or damages done to the book and when she saw that there weren’t, she began reading where Molly left off. The children listened politely and Molly even sat on her lap. One by one her scales dropped and the library dragon became human… almost. After all, she still had to be a little bit of a dragon to protect all those books.

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Saint George and the Dragon written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1984)

This retelling of a classic fairy tale won the Caldecott Award in 1985 and has republished several times since then. It is a retelling of Edmund Spencer’s The Faerie Queen, a story of how the Red Cross Knight kills the horrible dragon that has been terrorizing the English countryside. The knight, born a mortal named George but stolen away as a baby and raised with the fairies, went into the forest with the Princess Una and a dwarf servant to rid the land of monstrous dragon. In a fierce battle, the dragon picked George up on his horse and carried him far away. Twice the dragon seemed to defeat George, but each time George regained his strength and attacked the dragon again. George fought valiantly spearing the dragon with his sword, killing him. As a reward, the king gave George his daughter Una as a bride. They were wed, and lived happily ever after. But  the knight did not forget his promise to the fairy queen, and so he stayed in her service for six years until he earned the name of Saint George of Merry England.

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