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Looking for children’s stories about dragons? As a self-styled book-dragon who also just happens to be an actual modern dragon, I have a few insights on some of the best dragon books for kids and for all ages!
The best board books about dragons!
Hello there! Modern dragon here, coming at you live from the reading nook in my lair.
In today’s post, I’ll share, for starters, just a few dragon books that I think are especially great reads for little dragonets who have just barely started to fly. These are also especially suitable for human toddlers and preschoolers who haven’t figured out your phone password yet.
I’m listing some hardcover dragon books as well as board books, my favorite format for the younglings. And as you probably know very well, board books are especially useful if your little creature is just a bit too slash,- gnash-, or flame-happy.
Plenty of books about dragons for kids of all ages
All the books mentioned below are picture books. If you’re looking for some great dragon books for older groups, like adults, young adults, and even dracologists-in-training, don’t worry; I have some future posts planned.
And meanwhile, the books listed below are sure to delight dragon enthusiasts of all ages!
This list is not in any particular order and is far from complete; let me know about the dragon books you love, and perhaps I’ll add them to a future post!
TL;DR: What are the best dragon books for kids?
I’ve got some cool summaries lined up for you below, but first, because I want to give you the goods up front, here are some highlights.
- Best board books about dragons: That’s Not My Dragon (includes fun textures to touch!) and Dragons are Real (absolutely delightful, with only a few words on each page). These, I humbly submit, are the best dragon board books I have encountered.
- Dragon-themed board book in Spanish: Princesa Belinda y su mascota (dragon-positive book encourages self-reliance)
- Best dragon-themed children’s book for kids losing teeth: Dragon Tooth (it’s always helpful to summon a dragon when you’re going through a tough time)
- Funniest dragon books for kids: Dragons Love Tacos (sets the standard for dragon-oriented humorous children’s books that kids and adults will love) and Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel (builds on the success of the original by exploring what would happen in the face of a calamitous taco shortage)
- Most heartwarming book about dragons: Evermore Dragon (hits me right in the feels and makes me want to cuddle up with my dear ones)
- Great dragon books for kids of all abilities: Not Your Typical Dragon (a dragon who has trouble breathing fire uses his special skills to save the day) and Princess Peepers Picks a Pet (dragon-positive book encourages self-reliance)
- Best dragon picture book with short chapters: Dragon Trouble (a child’s love for his grandfather leads him to discover two friendly dragons)
- Awesome dragon book for young imaginations: Dragon Dancing (preschoolers imagine a dragon together)
- Best dragon books with rhymes: The Tale of Custard the Dragon (dragons have complicated inner lives and only resort to fire when they have to) and Where is the Dragon (whimsical stop-motion-animation-style art and delightful wording)
- Best dragon book featuring fairy tales: Dragon Pizzeria (showcases natural dragon baking and delivery skills)
And here are the dragon book summaries!
Read on for brief summaries of some of the best dragon books for kids that gold can buy.
Dragons Are Real! (Mythical Creatures Are Real!) by Holly Hatam (Random House Books for Young Readers) (board book)
I am at a stage of my life where I read a lot of board books. Sometimes with a youngster. And I have to tell you that while there are many high quality board books out there that I absolutely adore, Dragons Are Real is my favorite board book.
The book, by the amazing Holly Hatam, quickly lays out some basic facts about dragons, including (of course) that they are real (I could have told you that!), what they are made of, and some of their fun attributes and skills.
Dragons are Real! Is perfect for little readers. It has sparkly, durable pages–but get this, the glitter doesn’t rub off at all. The book also soars especially high by featuring vivid colors, beautiful artwork, and concise factual tidbits. For instance, did you know that dragons LOVE to chase lightening bolts!?
And the editorial decisions are fantastic, resulting in a book documenting various dragon activities, from sleeping to swooping to even reading about, you guessed it, DRAGONS!
That’s Not My Dragon by Fiona Watt, Illustrated by Rachel Wells (Usborne) (board book or hardcover)
If Dragons are Real is my favorite board book, That’s Not My Dragon is a close runner up.
Appealing to a slightly younger audience, That’s Not My Dragon features special tactile features to delight little talons.
Each precious page walks through an assessment of whether the depicted dragon is, in fact, the narrator’s dragon. The initial dragons, we learn, are either more tufted, knobly, fuzzy, etc. than the narrator’s dragon.
Which, frankly, is just fine with me. Dragons come in all shapes, sizes, and tuft patterns.
And it’s never too early to teach a young one how to recognize one’s own, personal dragon.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books) (hardcover)
Of all the delightful lore one can learn about dragons, the tastiest tidbit is that they looooooooove tacos. This first installment in the two-part series is a fitting introduction to the nuances of dragon taco consumption and the not inconsiderable risks associated with hot sauce.
By the way, re: hot sauce: I can confirm. Based on my own experience, dragons should steer well clear of spicy salsa.
The best children’s books are like the best adult books in this way and probably others, too: there is so much to see and enjoy that the book will please on the second, third, and even, in the case of toddlers who cannot get enough repetition, ninety-third reading. Dragons Love Tacos leans into this, with sublime details hidden on every page.
The book is also dragon-positive. Take the human protagonist. His bedroom is full of dragons, dragon toys, dragon art and even dragon-adjacent furniture. (How can I get a bed shaped like a castle!?)
These details are extremely encouraging, especially when one is a modern dragon trying to find one’s place in society. But I digress. Whether you are a dragon or a human or some other creature entirely, Dragons Love Tacos belongs on every bookshelf.
Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel by Adam Rubin, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri (Dial Books) (hardcover)
Sometimes a work of art is so perfect that any possible sequel can only dilute its brilliance. And so I am pleased to report that Dragons Love Tacos 2: The Sequel does not fall into that trap.
The sequel’s premise is a worthy one: what happens in the dragon community during a time of great calamity occasioned by a worldwide taco shortage?
Add a little time travel and anything is possible.
Princess Peepers Picks a Pet by Pam Calvert, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning (Two Lions) (hardcover)
Princess Peepers Picks a Pet has something for everyone: dragons, frogs, little girls feeling slighted by other little girls, and, of course, let me say again, dragons!
Also, it’s available in Spanish, under the name Princesa Belinda y su mascota, translated by Merme L’Hade (2015 Ediciones Jaguar).
The book follows the story of a dragon who encounters a princess in need . . . of a pet!
And while I won’t go on record as a modern dragon endorsing keeping dragons as pets (we’re sentient and intelligent, you know!), I very much appreciate where this story is coming from and its ultimate message of determination and self-reliance.
If I could offer a gentle critique, however, the book is not very sensitive toward frogs.
But, Princess Peepers is very dragon-positive, and as I’m fond of saying, we can’t get enough dragon-positive depictions. Especially in literature for young dragonets.
Dragon Trouble by Penelope Lively, illustrated by Andrew Rowland (Crabtree Publishing Company) (hardcover; short chapters)
I say this as a modern dragon: as far as I’m concerned, the only dragon trouble is that there are not more dragons.
And let me know what you think, but I think this important and fun book makes essentially the same point.
In this historical record, we meet a pair of dragons through the eyes of Pete, a young boy. His generosity toward his grandfather leads him to an unexpected, winged discovery. Adventures ensue.
Dragon Trouble has plenty of adorable illustrations. I admit that I spent many minutes just flipping through and gazing at them. Which is not so different from what a young one might do.
This hardcover book has several very short chapters, so it is best suited for young dragonets who are slightly older or who will be curling up with an adult for story time.
Dragon Dancing by Carole Lexa Schaefer, illustrated by Pierr Morgan (Viking) (hardcover)
This colorful, onomatopoeic book tells the story of a preschool class of human children learning about Eastern dragons. It’s adorable.
Dragon Dancing is also imagination-positive, focusing on just a few key words on each page. And it’s dragon-friendly. What a fun book!
Not Your Typical Dragon by Dan Bar-El, illustrated by Tim Bowers (Viking) (hardcover)
Not Your Typical Dragon is not your typical dragon book. Rather than tell the story from a human protagonist’s perspective, this gem takes the dragon’s perspective.
I’ve noted elsewhere that it’s not easy to breathe fire, and seven-year-old dragonet Crispin discovers he has some challenges in that regard.
With playful illustrations and plausible scenarios that any young dragon might find relatable, this charming coming-of-age story helps anyone feel comfortable in their own scales.
The book is great for everyone. But with its focus on a dragonet who struggles to fit in, it’s especially great for children with different skills and abilities.
It also demonstrates a very welcome, optimistic take on dragon-knight relations.
Where is the Dragon? text and illustrations by Leo Timmers, translated from Dutch by James Brown (Gecko Press) (hardcover)
The art is whimsical! It reminds me of the stop-motion animation featured in the Wallace and Gromit series. If you liked that style you will love this.
And a word of caution preceding my recommendation: dragon enthusiasts might get a little nervous when looking at the cover. It depicts some knights searching for a hidden dragon. The knights do not look like they have friendly plans for the dragon.
But, I hasten to add, never fear. It’s a delightful romp (how could I do a book review without using the word “romp”) and everything turns out happily ever after, at least for the dragon-inclined.
And considering that the book is translated from Dutch (the original work was entitled Waar is de draak), it’s especially impressive how well the rhymes fit and add to the story. They are perfectly measured and young readers will love matching them with the colorful images.
The Tale of Custard the Dragon by Ogden Nash, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger (Little, Brown) (hardcover)
Sometimes it takes a pirate incursion to convince even the most timid household dragon to take strong defensive action.
The story is great if you’re a fan of dragons. To be fair, it is less great if you’re a fan of pirates and do not want to see them being eaten.
But it’s great if you like stories that feature both dragons and pirates.
Also it strongly features a dog, a cat, a mouse, and a brave little girl.
And get this. Ogden Nash published the poem upon which the book was based in 1936, proving that even nearly a century ago there were good souls who knew that dragons had complicated inner lives and only resort to fire when actually needed.
Evermore Dragon by Barbara Joosse, illustrated by Randy Cecil (Candlewick Press) (hardcover)
What happens if a game of hide-and-seek goes badly? From this premise comes greatness.
If we didn’t know this before, Evermore Dragon teaches us that a dragon can hear a friend’s heartbeat from far away.
Oh, she tried so not to cry!
But she cried silver tears
worry worry tears
and her hear thumped a sound
a trem-below sound
that only Dragon friends,
very very special friends, can hear.Barbara Joose, Evermore Dragon
Children’s books are often poems. This one is a love song.
It comes complete with sentimental details, like wing-wrapping, that melted this modern dragon’s heart. And understated, gorgeous illustrations that bring the dragon and girl to life.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I want to read it every night. With my dear ones.
Dragon Pizzeria by Mary Morgan, illustrated by Mary Morgan (Alfred A. Knopf) (hardcover)
Dragon Pizzeria follows a series of pizza deliveries to familiar fairy tale characters. Despite challenges making deliveries, the delivery dragon, Spike, proves unflappable. (Get it? Unflappable?)
The book features many joys. Here’s one I can’t stop thinking about: a dragon breathing fire to power a hot air balloon and keep pizza warm mid-flight. Genius!
I did find some of the pizza ingredients a bit concerning, but I think everything turned out all right for those affected. Unrelated PSA: frogs and salamanders do not belong on pizzas!
Dragon Tooth by Cathryn Falwell (Clarion Books) (hardcover) (for grades 1-2)
When one is a (human) child on the cusp of losing one’s first tooth, it can be helpful to summon a dragon to help get one through the experience.
Thoughtful books like Dragon Tooth strengthen my hope that human readers will come to appreciate that dragons are there for you. Not just for dental growing pains, but all of life’s ups and downs.
And there we have it! Some fantastic dragon books for kids. Let me know you favorites in the comments or contact me directly!
Thought experiment: if you could be a character in one of these books, who would you be and why?