Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Book of Dragons (Edith Nesbit)

The Book of Dragons
Edith Nesbit
Public Domain Books
Fiction, YA Collection/Fantasy
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: Small as a gnat or as large as a mountain, dwelling at the ends of the Earth or within the pages of a magical book, dragons always bring trouble no matter where or when they turn up. In this collection, the author Edith Nesbit recounts tales of many remarkable dragons and the people who must deal with them.

REVIEW: With vivid imagination and clever turns of phrase, Nesbit spins a number of charming fairy tales. The characters tend to be flat stereotypes, especially the girls - which is strange, given that Nesbit herself seemed to be anything but the helpless damsel in distress. For fairy tales, however, they work just fine; they didn't have a chance to outstay their welcome, unlike those in her longer works. Also, for all the imagination on display here, the author clearly writes for a very specific audience, that being white English schoolchildren of some wealth. (That was the world she knew, though. I don't suppose it occurred to her that anyone else would be reading these stories, let alone grown-ups in another country more than a century in the future... reading them on an electronic device that would've seemed nearly as fantastic to her as the storybook that births live monsters. But I digress.) Wild adventures are had, and if nobody ever really came to harm, even after being eaten by a dragon, well, these were written for schoolchildren... and parents, who would've objected to unhappy endings for their blessed little darlings. All things considered, I gave it the benefit of the doubt with a Good rating.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Dragonslayers (Bruce Coville) - My Review
The Book of Enchantments (Patricia Wrede) - My Review
Here, There be Dragons (Jane Yolen) - My Review

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