THE TRUTH ABOUT DRAGONS by Rhoda Blumberg

THE TRUTH ABOUT DRAGONS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In picture-book format, a compendium of dragon lore presented as natural h/story and presumably taken from venerable sources. (Pliny is cited on the practice of trapping dragons with gold; ""old nature books"" are disputed on whether dragons really swallowed elephants whole.) In one- or two-page entries with headings such as ""Habitat"" and ""Diet,"" Blumberg tells of dragon cures and charms (were iron horseshoes above the door really associated with dragons?) and of saints who conquered dragons with swords (St. George) or holy water (St. Martha). She distinguishes between the ""ugly, nasty"" Western dragons and the ""beautiful, friendly and wise"" dragons of the East, where they are respected and honored; and she divides the book into two parts, accordingly. In the latter we learn of the Japanese Emperor Hirohito's dragon ancestry, and of the fossils sold in China as dragon bones. Rather coyly, Blumberg presents the lore as fact--unlike McHargue in The Beasts of Never, who also dealt with Western and Eastern dragons and alluded occasionally to the inconsistency (or whatever) of the beliefs. Tinkelman's sinuous, blurry, cross-hatch dragon portraits don't reward the attention their full-page or double-page scale invites. This is, however, far more polished than the same pair's Backyard Bestiary (p. 190, J-78), and it might enjoy a spill-over interest from the current fantasy fad.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1980
Publisher: Four Winds