Children’s Book of the Week: The Loathsome Dragon
The Loathsome Dragon, retold by David Wiesner and Kim Kahng, illustrated by David Wiesner
I thought by now we’d checked all the David Wiesner books out of the library, but little did I know that there were more. I found this one while I was wandering in the fables section (ok, and I realize now that I have yet to check the card catalog, maybe there’s a treasure trove in biography or cookbooks or something).
This one is so exciting that I started to read it right there in the library, and then Eli wondered about it, so I started reading it to him. Then Zuzu got fussy because it was her naptime, and Eli and I were genuinely a bit distressed about not being able to finish the book and find out what happened. Then she calmed down for five minutes and we breathlessly read the rest of it. Phew! And Henry devoured it when he came home.
In many ways it’s a classic fairy tale, but somehow the way it’s told, plus of course Wiesner’s always-amazing illustrations make it totally engrossing. A widower king is bewitched into marrying an evil enchantress, who is horrified to see how much he loves his daughter, and turns the daughter into an awful dragon. The spell can only be broken if the king’s son comes back from his long sailing voyage and kisses the dragon before a year is up. The dragon goes around eating everything and tormenting the village until a wizard figures out what the spell is, and tells the villagers to give the dragon milk every day. The dragon is still awful, but at least she isn’t eating anyone any more. They send off a letter to the prince, but he’s far off and on a ship, so it takes a while for him to get the message. It’s all very nail biting. Love it!