Thursday, June 17, 2010

All Those Kids In Love With Dragons ~ Books and Activities

This past Sunday, out on a sunny, windblown hill with great tall fir trees, a little boy had his fourth birthday celebration - and Acorn&Rose puppets were there to help. The hillside was enriched by a variety of hooting owls, chirping songbirds - and several roaring dragons. It was hard to hold down the little boy's friends. They all wanted to help with dragon roars and flight! And truly, could there be anything quite so tempting as a dragon's offer to come fly with him?
Dragons can breathe fire, fly, talk, and shapeshift. They are known to be gentle as well as fierce and dangerous. They are protectors sometimes, or necromancers. They kill for treasure and horde their finds in lonely caves. Heroes of all kinds have faced dragons to protect innocent peoples. At one time, it is said, the children of China all got together and created the dragon to keep their country from war. Children - boys and girls, little and big, everywhere - children love dragons. They love to dream about meeting them, confronting or taming them, slaying them or riding on their backs to unknown places.
There are books and books and books filled with dragon legends, stories, and lore. If you have children ages four to twelve or so, the list below offers a variety for the thoughtful contemplation of dragons and their meaningful place in the world - the great world beyond or the world of a child's making. (This list offers a broad spectrum which may serve as a launch for understanding different perspectives - how one subject may be viewed and understood in many different lights.) The Reluctant Dragon, by Kenneth Graham, abridged and illustrated by Inga Moore
My Father's Dragon (and two excellent sequels), by Ruth Stiles Gannet, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannet ~ funny and compelling Magic in the Mist, by Marjorie Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, a picture book for all ages The Secret in the Matchbox, by Val Willis, illustrated by John Shelly ~ set in a classroom Saint George and the Dragon, by Margaret Hodges, a Caldecott Gold winner, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman ~ the classic dragon legend of the West
City of Dragons, by Laurence Yep ~ a story of the more humane dragons of the East. Yep wrote many fine dragon stories, picture books to novels Legend of the Chinese Dragon, by Marie Sellier, illustrated by Catherine Louis with calligraphy and chop marks by Wang Fei ~ something very different yet satisfying The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, first told by him to his children and originally published just for children How to Raise and Keep a Dragon, by John Topsell, a thorough, detailed guidebook, starting with a dragon's egg - too clever and jive for me, but otherwise good
Along with all this reading and imagining, a boy or girl may just need a castle to return to, and here is a great inspiration: http://annwood.net/blog/category/cardboard-castles/ As you can see, Ann makes these by collecting odd shapes of cardboard - and just gets rolling. Storm the castle! http://www.stormthecastle.com/  has lots of tutorials for making shields, swords, catapults and much more, great for a parent to share with a child. How to make simple, quick playcapes: http://thelittleredhen.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/03/play-capes.html Easy instructions here for sock puppet dragons http://www.buttonbag.co.uk/free-projects.php To cut the mouth look here: http://www.daniellesplace.com/html/puppets.html

4 comments:

Thea said...

This is amazing, this gives us a summerful of valuable things to do. Thank you Molly, so so much.

Katie said...

Oh yeaohyeah oh yea!!!!!!!!! My kidsare gonna jest be bizy an happy with allthis.How do you come upwith so much.

Anonymous said...

This blog completely rocks.

Patty said...

This is lovely and your other posts too. Glad you have started blogging, Your reading info is great too.