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Kenny & the Dragon Hardcover

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; First Edition edition (August 5, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416939776
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416939771
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #533,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3–6—Kenny's father brings home a fearsome description of an enormous creature: " of them flying things that eats pretty maidens and burns castles to the ground." Instead of being frightened, Kenny, a curious and well-read rabbit, wants to meet the beast. His father, not too bright in some ways but quite sensible in others, is sure Kenny can handle it, but Kenny's no-nonsense mother insists, "Dishes and homework first." What follows is a delightful riff on Kenneth Grahame's classic The Reluctant Dragon, starring a dragon named Grahame that can delicately torch crème brûlée with the flames from his left nostril and has no interest in killing anyone. Before long, rumors and fear create a mob mentality among the local townspeople, and Kenny has to come up with a plan to prevent the retired dragon slayer (George, of course) from killing Grahame. This is a fun story with substance. At one point, Kenny wonders, "How can they want someone killed they don't even know?... How can George just blindly do whatever the king says?" The civilizing influence of literature is another theme that has relevance for today's readers. Lively pencil sketches add to the charm. The author's reputation will enhance the popularity of this solid fantasy.—Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Tony DiTerlizzi is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator who has been creating books with Simon & Schuster for more than a decade. From his fanciful picture books like Jimmy Zangwow’s Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure, Adventure of Meno (with his wife, Angela), and The Spider & The Fly (a Caldecott Honor book), to chapter books like Kenny and The Dragon and The Search for WondLa, Tony always imbues his stories with a rich imagination. His middle grade series, The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Holly Black), has sold millions of copies, been adapted into a feature film, and has been translated in more than thirty countries. You can visit him at

More About the Author


Dragons, space monsters, goblins and insects: the characters that inhabit storyteller Tony DiTerlizzi's world haven't changed since he was a kid growing up in South Florida.

Born in Los Angeles, California in 1969, DiTerlizzi is the oldest of three siblings raised in an artistically rich household. He started drawing at a very young age including a crayon mural of Winnie-the-Pooh on his freshly painted bedroom walls.

One of his first hand-made books was on his favorite subject; dinosaurs, and was done for a Boy Scout merit badge. Fascinated by nature's endless designs, Tony made another book, this time on insects, carefully drawn from his own collection.

In 1981, after seeing Jim Henson's "The Dark Crystal" and playing Dungeons & Dragons, the 12 year-old Tony spent the summer writing and illustrating an entire field guide on fantastic creatures. He would return to this premise many years later as the genesis for "The Spiderwick Chronicles".

By the time he graduated high school, DiTerlizzi had dreams of becoming a children's book creator. He attended several art schools including, Florida School of the Arts and the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, receiving his degree in graphic design in 1992.

After graduating, the 23 year-old DiTerlizzi began working freelance for TSR, publisher of Dungeons & Dragons - the game that had inspired him so much as a child. He illustrated many fantastical images of warriors, wizards and monsters over the next 6 years, and also contributed to the collectible card game Magic the Gathering.

A move to New York City in 1996 brought Tony to the center of the publishing world. At last, his dream of writing and illustrating outstanding imaginative books for children could be realized. And he did it at Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

In 2000, his first picture book, "Jimmy Zangwow's Out-of-this-World Moon Pie Adventure" debuted. Inspired by Windsor McKay's "Little Nemo in Slumberland" and Norman Rockwell, the story of a young space adventurer in search of his favorite snack garnered positive reviews. Kirkus compared Tony's work to that of David Wiesner and William Joyce. More importantly, children loved the book.

The next year, he followed up with "Ted", the story of a workaholic single parent trying to find time for his son and his mischievous imaginary friend. Once again, the book was well received, and it won several state awards including the University of Chicago's Zena Sutherland Book Award.

His third picture book, "The Spider and The Fly", was based on Mary Howitt's famous 1829 poem. Here, DiTerlizzi exhibited his love of insects and arachnids as he rendered Chaz Addams-esque paintings of the intrepid spider and the guileless fly. The result was a critically acclaimed, New York Times bestseller. It won a Caldecott Honor, an award for high artistic achievement in children's publishing, in 2003. Tony's career as a creator of children's books was on its way.

During a magazine interview on his work for Dungeons & Dragons, DiTerlizzi met up-and-coming writer Holly Black. A fellow fantasy and folklore lover, the two became fast friends and Tony showed her sketches he was working on for a field guide to fantastic creatures. Black began helping him, and the two created the chapter book series "The Spiderwick Chronicles".

Spiderwick followed the adventures of three New England children who unearth an old John James Audubon-styled field guide to fairies, trolls and goblins. No sooner do they find the tome, they then discover that all of its subjects are real and want the guide. "The Spiderwick Chronicles" were loved by children and adults alike, and was published in over 30 countries, selling over 7 million copies in the US alone.

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies released a live action adaptation of "The Spiderwick Chronicles" in 2008 starring Freddie Highmore, Mary Louise-Parker and Nick Nolte. The film was well received by critics and the public, remaining in the top 3 at the box office for a number of weeks.

In 2006, Tony took a break from Spiderwick, returning to the picture book format with his nonsense alphabet book, "G is For One Gzonk!" Next, he and Holly continued the Spiderwick saga in the new series, "Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles". The latest Spiderwick story arc followed a new set of kids dealing with giants, mermaids and nixies in the hot, humid tropics of South Florida.

DiTerlizzi's passion for crafting more chapter books for young imaginations continued with 2008's "Kenny and The Dragon". Inspired by "The Reluctant Dragon", it tells the story of a young, bookish rabbit who becomes friends with a happy-go-lucky drake. As the two become best friends, the king orders the town dragon-slayer to execute the beast - and it is up to the rabbit, Kenny, to stop him. The book became a New York Times bestseller the week of its release and was nominated for several state book awards.

He followed Kenny by teaming up with his wife, Angela, on a silly series of young picture books, "Adventure of Meno". Meno, the space elf, and his best friend (a jellyfish named Yamagoo) do not speak in correct grammar and go on ridiculous adventures where they are visited by a variety of guests such as David Hasselhoff and Eddie Vedder.

"Ang and I wanted to create a very young book that made you laugh." Tony explained. "There are plenty of soft and cute books for toddlers, but we wanted one that caused laughter with both the parent and the child, forging a love of fun books from the onset."

2010 marked a decade of creating books for children for Tony. "This is what I have always dreamed of doing," he says. "I keep waiting for my mom to wake me up and it has all just been one middle school-aged escapist dream."

DiTerlizzi celebrated by returning to aliens and spaceships with his futuristic fairy tale, "The Search for WondLa". The story follows a 12-year old girl, Eva Nine, who is raised underground by a robot. Eva discovers that she is the only human alive on an alien planet and begins searching for others like her. The illustrated novel debuted as a New York Times best-seller and was featured on the Today show. Once again, Tony is teaming up with Paramount Pictures to bring "The Search for WondLa" to the screen. A live-action feature film is already in development.

Tony works with his wife, Angela, and lives in Amherst, Massachusetts with their daughter.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This book is both written and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi.
Steven R. McEvoy
It is a story of a rabbit named Kenny who befriends a peace-loving dragon.
M. Yeazle
This is also a wonderful book to read aloud to younger children.
Dominique W

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Yeazle on September 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What an adorable story. This book is written by Tony DiTerlizzi, who also wrote "The Spiderwick Chronicles", so you know that this author can write. It is a story of a rabbit named Kenny who befriends a peace-loving dragon. Seems simple enough, except that the other villagers have some misconceptions of what a dragon is and decide to dispatch the dragon. My 8-year-old dragon loving son found the story very enjoyable. He could have read the story himself, but since his 6-year-old sister also wanted to hear the story, I read it to them. My daughter also throughly enjoyed the story. Her only complaint was "there should have been more girls in the book" :) The chapters are short so that makes it nice when reading outloud. (Personally, I could not stop at just 1 chapter, I think I enjoyed reading this story as much as my kids enjoyed hearing it)
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Are you familiar with the legend, St. George and the Dragon? If you don't know the older legend, perhaps you have read "The Reluctant Dragon" was written by Kenneth Grahame (the author who penned "The Wind in the Willows" about a hundred years ago. The general story is about a peaceful dragon who comes to live in a village. Since dragons are usually dangerous beasts the villagers and King want the dragon slayed. However the person who is to kill the dragon, George, realizes the dragon is peaceful and fakes the killing then reveals that the dragon is peaceful.

Tony DiTerlizzi retells the story in more modern times yet still in a fantasy world. In DiTerlizzi's version the main character Kenny is a schoolboy, or actually, a rabbit who dresses in human clothes and acts like a human. All the characters in this book are animals living as humans. Kenny is a gifted child, a bookworm consumed with teaching himself anything and everything that interests him. Kenny is different than his peers, due to his intelligence. His best friend is an elderly bookstore owner named George, who retired from some kind of work with the King.

The dragon, named Grahame, comes to live on Kenny's family's farm. Kenny befriends the dragon, who in addition to being friendly and peaceful also loves books and is an autodidact, who loves Shakespeare and can even play the piano. The dragon is having a splendid life until the villagers find out of his existence and the King calls for his execution. The rest goes along as with the tale as penned by Kenneth Grahame.

The story moves at a fast pace and never slows down. I was hooked into the story and wanted to find out the outcome.

The publisher states this book is for independent reading by children of ages 9-12.
Read more ›
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amanda Richards HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In this charming book for young readers, a little rabbit named Kenny befriends a dragon, and then has to convince the terrified villagers that this particular wyrm has no plans to put them or their crops on the menu.

The dragon lived on Shepard's Hill
Just near the Parrish Creek
Young Kenny Rabbit ventured near
So he could sneak a peek

Grahame was the dragon's name
Like crackers with an "e"
He and Kenny soon were friends
And bonded happily

But far too soon the news got out
Spread by the town naysayer
The King issued a summons for
His trusted dragon slayer

So what on earth can Kenny do?
Is Grahame to be slain?
The rabbit has to find a way
To stop the hate campaign

According to the English tale
St. George defeats his dragon
But hopefully this time around
There won't be a toe tag on

Told in simple language and beautifully illustrated, this book would be fun reading for the 8 to 10 age group. It emphasizes the benefits of reading and creative thinking, the dangers of jumping to conclusions, while stressing the importance of a support network of family and friends.

(Note: I did think it rather strange that a rabbit who runs a farm and lives near a village of talking animals manages to own a flock of non-talking sheep, but I'll put that down to artistic license and maybe some dumb sheep)

Amanda Richards, September 13, 2008
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By TeensReadToo on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kenny Rabbit has always been a little different. While most in the tiny farming town of Roundbrook are, indeed, farmers, he is a perpetual bookworm and dreamer, always with one fanciful notion or another in his head. But now it appears that he may be just a little too different for the citizens of Roundbrook - after all, who on earth has a dragon for a best friend?

When the villagers learn of the dragon running loose over the countryside, they immediately designate it a scourge and mark it for imminent extermination, to be carried out by a dragon-slayer! Can Kenny figure out a way to make the villagers see the truth? Can he save his best friend?

KENNY & THE DRAGON is a touching tale of friendship that draws inventively from the classic story of St. George and the dragon. Kenny Rabbit is a protagonist you can't help but root for, and the illustrations in this book are simply adorable. While the prose in KENNY & THE DRAGON is a little cumbersome at times, it is not enough to detract from the charm of the tale, and the lessons taught are an effortless part of the story.

Children will be drawn in by the unique and lovable characters of Kenny Rabbit, Grahame the dragon, and George himself, and take away heartfelt lessons of courage, friendship, and diversity.

Reviewed by: Rebecca Wells
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