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Dragonbreath Hardcover – June 11, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Vernon's (Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a Somewhat Brave Shrew) fiction/graphic novel hybrid stars an audacious young dragon who can't get the knack of breathing fire. After Danny Dragonbreath gets an F on his science paper about the ocean-written at the last-minute on the school bus and describing "the rare and elusive snorkelbat"-his teacher tells him to rewrite it. To research the topic, Danny and his pal Wendell, a timid iguana, head for the Sargasso Sea. Guided by Danny's sea serpent cousin, Edward, the two encounter creatures like an octopus that can become polka-dotted or striped, "mermen" guarding Atlantis and a vampire squid that emits "a cloud of glowing snot." (They also learn about the bends, which Edward equates to "shaking a can of soda, only inside your body.") Illustrated with comic book-style art with a lime-green wash, the story gets some spark from wry asides presented in speech balloons ("Why couldn't you have gone to the library instead?" wails Wendell as a giant squid approaches). But scattered amusing snippets don't quite keep the tale afloat. Ages 8-12.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 2–4—Danny Dragonbreath feels like a loser in more ways than one. No matter how hard he tries, he can't muster up even one lukewarm dragon's breath. Now he's in trouble with his teacher at the Herpitax-Phibbias School for Reptiles and Amphibians. He handed in a carelessly written paper on the ocean and received a well-deserved F. Now he must rewrite the paper. To research the topic he talks to his cousin, a sea serpent. Along with Danny's iguana friend, Wendell, Edward takes them on an underwater adventure to the Sargasso Sea. The adventure becomes life-threatening when Danny and Wendell are attacked by a giant squid. Danny must save his friend and does so with a long-awaited fire breath. Not only is Danny a hero but he gets an A on his re-submitted paper. The exchanges between the less-adventurous and nervous Wendell and nonchalant Danny make this a laugh-out-loud read. The text is generously illustrated with engaging, comic-book style cartoons in green, black, and white, many full page and others that cover several spreads. This humorous adventure story will appeal to reluctant readers and children seeking early chapter books.—Tina Martin, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What's this?)
  • Series: Dragonbreath (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Dial Books; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (June 11, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803733631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803733633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.6 x 7.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #295,597 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ursula Vernon is the author and illustrator of "Nurk," "Digger," "Dragonbreath," "Castle Hangnail," and the forthcoming "Hamster Princess." Her Eisner-nominated comic "Digger" won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story and the Mythopoeic Award, and her children's book "Dragonbreath" won the Sequoyah Award in 2013.

Ursula grew up in Oregon and Arizona, went to college at Macalester College in Minnesota, and stayed there for ten years, until she finally learned to drive in deep snow and was obligated to leave the state.

Having moved across the country several times, she eventually settled in Pittsboro, North Carolina, where she works full-time as an artist, writer, and creator of oddities. She lives with her husband, a beagle, and a small collection of cats.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By M. M. McCafferty on June 12, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Dragonbreath" is an amusing story that combines witty text and wonderful artwork in the same style that Ursula Vernon employs in her "Digger" series. From predatory potato salad ("A school of potato salad can skeletonize a cow in under two weeks, assuming that the cow doesn't get bored and move...") to burly mermen from Atlantis and vain luminescent deep sea creatures ("Hey! DO I come up to the surface and make fun of your looks?"), this book presents a host of very likeable, bizarre characters. The two main characters, Danny and Wendell, find themselves in enough trouble to keep the story moving along nicely. My nine-year-old and I give it five stars, and we look forward to the next story in the series.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By shopper off the mainland on January 10, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My son read this and said "mom can we get more of these?" He has been a reluctant reader so we encourage him to read anything that interests him. He's 10 so it may have been a bit easy for him but he really liked it. We will get the rest of this series.
I chose this book because I was getting a variety of books to peak his interest. This was the first one he chose to read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jillian M. Zampaglione on June 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My son is 8 and is not the best reader but loves books. He wants to read books on his interest level and that are cool. They can be very hard to find. This book series is awesome for him because he can read it, but it is still age appropriate as well! Fun illustrations & stories.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer M. Mann on June 14, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ursula Vernon is a favorite, so I had this ordered on pre-order and knew I'd enjoy it. But once it arrived, I was completely smitten by the snorklebats and vicious rogue potato salad.

A delightful story for kids and adults who are still kids at heart. And it's even a wee-bit educational.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Karissa Eckert TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a cute little graphic novel/book. It is definitely intended for younger children and does a good job of teaching while it tells a fun story. This would probably be a good book for any reluctant readers out there. It is aimed a bit more at boys than girls, but either should enjoy it.

Danny is a dragon who can't breathe fire and who has a bit of trouble getting his homework done. Danny and his pal Wendell, contact Danny's cousin Edward the seaserpent for some help on Danny's paper about the ocean. They then go on a fantastical journey through the sea while managing to still get the homework done on time.

There were a lot of things I liked about this book. It is very funny and the drawings are super cute. The graphic novel and novel parts flowed well as they switch back and forth. The writing it easy to read and kids will be able to easily relate to Danny and his family. My favorite thing about this book is how much science it teaches without being blatant about. Kids really will learn a lot about the ocean and ocean creatures when they read this.

I personally also liked the inclusion of fantasy creatures (dragons, sea monsters) with non-fantasy facts. Although I wondered if this meshing of make-believe and factual information might be a bit confusing for some kids...like they may not realize all the info about the ocean is actually real and not made up. I was also a little concerned that Danny got away with being so naughty and not doing his homework himself.

Overall though this was a fun and cute read; full of adventure and humor. I would recommend this to younger children, but even young adults and adults will think it is a quick, fun read. I will definitely be checking out more Dragonbreath books in the future.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on August 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Gold Star Award Winner!

Danny Dragonbreath may dream of being a fearsome pirate on the high seas, but in reality, he's just a young dragon - the only mythical creature in an entire school of reptiles and amphibians - who can't even breathe fire yet and spends his days defending himself from bullies and vicious potato salad lunches, before the bullies steal them.

He doesn't really know anything about the ocean, either, so when his best friend, Wendell the iguana, refuses to help him pull together a last minute report on the ocean, Danny (who makes up something about "snorkelbats") receives a huge fat "F." Since going to the library and actually doing research is not something Danny would stoop to, he decides to follow his mom's advice and visit his cousin, Edward, a sea serpent who lives in the Sargasso Sea.

Poor Wendell gets dragged along for "the fun" of exploding sea cucumbers, sharks, and hostile mermen. The dragon and iguana do manage to learn some neat ocean facts before they come across a giant squid and have to fight for their lives. Will Danny manage to save Wendell from an untimely, tentacle death? More importantly, will he ever get his report finished?

Formatted in a tightly woven design that meshes graphic novel with traditional chapter text, this hilarious story is absolutely perfect for the younger male reader who refuses to pick up a book. This is one new series to definitely keep an eye on, with the next book expected in Spring of 2010, and one to be enjoyed by anyone who loves to laugh out loud.

Reviewed by: Allison Fraclose
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Krista Kay Jordan on January 29, 2012
Format: Hardcover
My son is not much into reading and for years I have trying to get him to fall in love with reading. I was so glad to find this series. Perfect to make an eight year old boy see how fun and interesting reading a book can be.
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