A BOOK DRAGON by Donn Kushner
Kirkus Star


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An engaging and truly original fantasy--600 years in the life of a dragon, from medieval England to present-day ""eastern North America,"" by the author of The Violin Maker's Gift (Canadian Library Association's Book of the Year for Children, 1980). Nonesuch's ancestors were traditional dragons--hoarding treasure, indiscriminately devouring livestock and maidens--although his father died a deliciously satirical death as a result of his gourmet tastes. But Nonesuch develops a philosophical bent, thanks partly to his own curiosity and partly to his grandmother--who warns him early on that since humans kill but don't eat each other, ""there must be something terribly wrong with their flesh."" When his family dies out, Nonesuch chooses to abandon their treasure and to eat sparingly, so that he gradually shrinks to insect size; in this form, he meets Brother Theophilus, who incorporates Nonesuch in his illustrations for a marvelous book of hours. With some intermittent adventures, Nonesuch sleeps away centuries tucked into in this beloved book, only to later find himself in the shop of a benevolent rare-book dealer--threatened by the 20th-century equivalent of a robber baron. Enlarging himself once more, just enough to save the day, Nonesuch discovers what his grandmother meant about human flesh before returning to his benignly bookish existence. Wise as well as amusingly whimsical, Nonesuch's story is beguilingly embellished with occasional marginal designs and chapter headings. Try reading aloud, or including some of the splendidly funny passages in a book-talk.

Pub Date: May 31st, 1988
Page count: 197pp
Publisher: Henry Holt