Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Kenny and the Dragon

Kenny and the Dragon

Tony DiTerlizzi
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 2008   ISBN: 978-1416939771

   Kenny Rabbit is a young rabbit who loves to read. He particularly enjoys reading fairy tales and books about natural history. Being rather bookish, he does not have many friends in school. In fact his best friend happens to be the owner of the local bookshop, an older badger called George who enjoys Kenny’s company.

   One very normal day Kenny’s father, a farmer by trade, announces that he has seen a dragon on the hill near their house. Kenny begs to be allowed to go to see the dragon for himself, and in the end his mother agrees. When he actually comes face to face with the dragon Kenny is more than just a little frightened. After all, the creature is enormous, it has long teeth, and dragons do have the reputation of being fiercesome beasts. This dragon - whose name is Grahame - is not at all fierce. In fact he, is a peace-loving intellectual animal who loves stories and crème brulee.

   It is not long before Kenny and his family is on excellent and very friendly terms with Grahame. Kenny visits the dragon every day, and Grahame is a frequent guest at the Rabbit dinner table. All is going well until the day when the townsfolk discover that there is a dragon in the vicinity. They quickly decide that the “infamous scourge” needs to be “exterminated” forthwith. Naturally Kenny is horrified when he hears this. Surely there must be something that he can do to save Grahame from the townsfolk.

   In this wonderfully funny and sweet book Tony DeTerlizzi - of Spiderwick fame - tells a splendid story about friendship, creativity, and sheer sneakiness. Yes indeed, as Kenny Rabbit discovers, sometimes being sneaky is the only way to go. DeTerlizzi does not dumb down his readers. Instead, his wonderful language encourages them to explore new avenues and to expand their horizons. His characters are utterly likeable (except the one really ‘bad guy’ in the tale) and readers will be left with a delicious case of the warm and fuzzies as they read the last page.