Customer Reviews

79
4.7 out of 5 stars
Dragonbreath
Format: HardcoverChange
Price:$10.25 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified 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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified 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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified 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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 2012
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Well my Son is a Big Nate fan, he has all, but the new one is not out yet so he wanted to try this book. He loves it..cracks up at the funny parts and loves the art work...he would like to get more of these when he is done.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover
My title says it all - kids will love the Dragonbreath books, and their parents can love them, too. These are some of those rare books that, when your child asks you to read them aloud for the umpteenth time you'll say, "Okay!" We've known and loved Ursula's work for years and when we heard she was writing a childrens book series we were thrilled. Her written flights of fancy on her LiveJournal narrating her art are some of the funniest things I've ever read - I knew a kids book would be fabulous. I was not disappointed :)

I must stop a moment before I go on about the *books* and talk about Ursula's art (all illustrations in the book are her own). Her art is the essence of whimsy and hyperbole with a big dash of the slightly twisted. Her paintings run the gamut from cute and fuzzy to laugh-till-you-cry funny, to OMG I don't want to hang that on my wall! But all of her art embraces the absurdity of life, of anatomy, of nature's little jokes at every species's expense and at the misguided idea that we're ever in control of anything. The art in Dragonbreath follows her style with an added dose of hilarity. The expressiveness of the simply drawn animals manages to be both human and completely reptile. The anthropomorphizing of, well, everything cracks you up because yes of course, that's exactly what potato salad would look like if it aged so long in the school cafeteria that it evolved into sentient (and evil) life.

Our Brave Hero, Danny Dragonbreath, has an outlook on life that any child can relate to. Fanciful, whimsical, a tad bit jaded about adult expectations and utterly inventive. A fantasy life almost more real than reality is a concept that speaks to any child, and my kids loved it. This was the first chapter book that my youngest read entirely...and he read it cover to cover in one day. Took him all day! Then his pre-teen older brother sneaked away with it, zipped through it, and declared it awesome. In between times, I was picking up Dragonbreath whenever it wasn't actually in someone's hot little hands and reading it as fast as I could.

The whimsy that works for kids is just as appealing for adults, but there is also a wonderful dry irony that runs as an undercurrent through the Dragonbreath books. Ursula has not written talk-down-to-them lobotomized childrens books. She's written books from the point of view of a child and at a reading level a child can enjoy but with the writing sensibilities and sophisticated perceptiveness of an adult. Not too many authors can do that these days :)
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Hardcover
Blame "Babymouse". Why not? "Babymouse", for those of you unfamiliar with the series, is the hot pink infused graphic novel sensation that has boys and girls alike wrapped tightly up in the time and trials of a little mouse with messy whiskers and a weakness for a good cupcake. No one anticipated the massive success of the series, and since its creation there have been multiple attempts to topple it from its throne. Terms like "it's the new Babymouse" have been many, but until now no comic booky-like creation has successfully come up with its own particular brand of humor and thick black-lined drawings. Until now! To be fair "Dragonbreath", the first in a new series, is its own beast entirely. With a shape and size (and restrained color palette) similar to Babymouse, author/illustrator Ursula Vernon has come up with her own unique storytelling style. I dislike calling anything the "new" this and the "new" that, but if you want something to supplement the reading of your "Babymouse" fans who like funny urbane graphic fiction, seek thee no further, traveler. Here be dragons.

You would think that as a dragon Danny would have it easy at school. You would have it wrong. Sure, he's the only dragon amongst a bunch of other reptiles, but can he breathe fire yet? Not hardly. So is it any wonder that he gets picked on by the local bullies all the time? At least he has his best friend Wendell, an iguana with a penchant for a smart retort. When Danny cooks up a plan to write a report on oceans by visiting his cousin Edward (a sea serpent) Wendell comes along and the two find themselves in deep water. Literally. Figuratively. Told with text with pictures for spice (ala "Captain Underpants") consider this a reluctant reader pick, and a visual stimulant.

It's important for the creator of any book to believe in the world they've conjured up. Artist Ursula Vernon has done just that. In this book she has clearly considered all the logistics down when it comes to creating a school for reptiles. The playground would be equipped with large rocks "for sitting and sunning oneself." The bully would, of course, be a Komodo dragon (with a salamander and a chameleon for his flunkies). Of course, in terms of scale, Vernon does tend to break out the creativity. Dragons, apparently, are comparable in size (at least when young) to salamanders and lizards. Komodo dragons, for that matter, are significantly larger (though not as big as they would be in real life). For about a page and a half your brain says "squee?" and tries to figure this out. Then you tell your brain to take it easy and enjoy the book, and it forgets all about scale and size from that point onward. And there has been some mention of the fact that the school sections don't always drive the plot forward, but I would argue that each section of the book adds to the overall storyline.

The text is a nice mixing and melding of kid and adult humor. Vernon can write a sentence like, "This idea was met with the contempt it deserved," and not turn off young readers in the process. You will find this book infused with an exceptionally dry wit. There are plenty of phrases in this book that I've never seen grace the pages of children's literature before. Wendell covered in sea cucumber spit-up utters a remorseful "I feel violated". I also tend to feel favorably towards any book that can work in good 10-point vocabulary words casually as part of the text. And it doesn't get much better than sentences like, "It was the exact sound that a a young Komodo dragon might make when he had just been stabbed in the hand with a plastic fork by a plate of recalcitrant potato salad." My guess as to the number of children's books tossing about the term "recalcitrant"? Low. Very low.

Some people will tell you that kids these days refuse to read anything purely black and white. Others will point out the ever-present popularity of comic strips and scoff. I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle. Children, for all that we talk down to them, can be discerning consumers. If a graphic novel is drawn in such a way that color would aid in the reading of it, kids pick up on that. "Dragonbreath", as it happens, is limited to a color palette of one. Green. Lots o' pretty green. You get a touch of yellow and blue on the cover, but don't let them fool you. Green's as good as it gets. Which, considering that this is a seaside tale that takes a turn for ocean depths, is fine. I was kind of hoping for a second color to appear during the big exciting climax, but no go. Perhaps future episodes will introduce new colors for the upcoming adventures in the series.

I considered for a moment the possibility that "Dragonbreath" would read aloud well to kids. After all, there's more text than anything else. Still, the full-page illustrated spreads do not always align perfectly with where the text is at any given time. Also, these pictures would be difficult to see in a classroom setting. Nope. "Dragonbreath" is clearly the one-on-one type. Fortunately it's also equally funny to adults and kids which will make bedtime reading fun for everyone. Don't let them pawn this off on you as a lesser "Babymouse" then. "Dragonbreath" is its own beast entirely, and once a kid has read it they'll be mightily inclined to read a couple more. Particularly if future volumes really do involve ninja frogs.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Dragonbreath #2: Attack of the Ninja Frogs
Dragonbreath #2: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon (Paperback - September 13, 2012)
$6.99

Dragonbreath #4: Lair of the Bat Monster
Dragonbreath #4: Lair of the Bat Monster by Ursula Vernon (Paperback - May 15, 2014)
$6.99

Dragonbreath #3: Curse of the Were-wiener
Dragonbreath #3: Curse of the Were-wiener by Ursula Vernon (Paperback - May 15, 2014)
$6.99
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.