Friday, October 20, 2017

John Ronald's Dragons

John Ronald's Dragons, a J.R.R. Tolkien Story
by Caroline McCallister; illus. by Eliza Wheeler
48 pages; ages 4-8
Roaring Brook Press, 2017

themes: biography, imagination, dragons

John Ronald was a boy who loved horses. And trees, And strange sounding words.

But most of all, John Ronald loved dragons.

If you have a kid who loves dragons, you'll understand this. John Ronald grew up hearing stories about knights and dragons. He and his cousin made up their own language, but he never found dragons. Even when he went to war - and that's where he certainly could have used the help of dragons! So John Ronald went into teaching. And then one day, while grading papers, he started writing: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

What I like about this book: It's fun to read. I like that John Ronald had no idea what a hobbit was, but followed him into a story that led him over mountains, beyond the ridges, east of the sun and west of the moon to the land where ... DRAGONS! I also like that the author and illustrator include notes at the end explaining more about Tolkien's life and inspiration for the illustrations.

Beyond the book:

Learn about hobbits! If you haven't read any of JRR Tolkien's books, at least read The Hobbit.Pay attention to their homes, what they wear, food they eat. These are important details.

How many kinds of Dragons are there? Like other reptiles, there is great diversity. You may want to make a poster showing all the various kinds of dragons there are or have been in the world.

Get to know dragons in the real world. Here's a National Geographic article that tells about seven existing "dragons".

Do dragons dance? Chinese New Year celebrations include dragon dances. If you were creating a dragon dance, what would it look like?

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review ARC from publisher.


  1. This is a fun book for those of us Tolkien fans. :-)

  2. What a fun book. I loved The Hobbit and will always remember the greeting..."may the hair on your toes grow long."

  3. OMG, I LOVE that cover! Thanks for telling me about this. I will definitely check it out.