2012 Colorado Book Award Finalists

April 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Young Henry and the Dragon

Please join Jeanne Kaufamn, finalist in the Colorado Book Awards,  as she reads her work Young Henry and the Dragon at the Finalist Readings, Thursday, April 19, 5:30 to 7 p.m., Residence Inn Marriott at 17th & Champa!

The Year of the Dragon began on January 23rd and will end on February 9, 2013. It’s considered to be the luckiest year in the Chinese Zodiac.

The Dragon, being the only mythical animal in the Zodiac, is regarded as a divine beast. He was believed to have been created from the head of an ox, the muzzle of a donkey, the eyes of a shrimp, the horns of a deer, the body of a serpent and the feet of a phoenix. He was a creature so universally admired that even the most overzealous medieval knight wouldn’t dare fight him.

In Young Henry and the Dragon, our young knight is more interested in dining than dismemberment. Read this charming review from School Library Journal!
Dragon Delights: Tales of Wonder and Whimsy for Young Readers

By Joy Fleishhacker, Curricululm Connections–School Library Journal

Jeanne Kaufman’s Young Henry and the Dragon (Shenanigan, 2011; K-Gr 4) combines a once-upon-a-time scenario with an appealingly contemporary vibe. While adventuring through the forest, a squire finds himself facing nightfall with no way to start a food-cooking, toe-warming campfire. However, his map reveals that a blaze-breathing creature lives nearby and Henry heads to its lair to politely beg a flame. The fearsome beast is less than cooperative, but the brave youngster comes up with a clever plan: if he can get the dragon to laugh, it will emit a fiery snort.

Henry’s efforts—wiggle-wagging his tongue and pulling on his ears, peeking upside down through his open legs, dancing a crazy jig, telling his best joke—will certainly amuse readers, but the dragon remains stone faced. It’s not until an exasperated Henry gives up and stomps away—and unintentionally trips over a tree root—that “The dragon swayed from side to side/and twitched from head to claw./A smoking snort escaped its lips,/and then a huge GUFFAW!!”

Henry ends up with a flame and a new friend. Seasoned with both folktale elements and giggle-inducing humor, the merrily rhyming text never misses a beat. Daria Tessler’s vibrantly colored paintings create a properly medieval mood (a gorgeous mix of pale green hues, crosshatched scales, and agile black-ink lines, the dragon could have stepped right out of a fairy tale) while playing up each and every pratfall. This book makes a clever contrast and possible segue to traditional dragon folklore.


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