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When 4th graders come to me in the school library and want something funny, I am glad to suggest the Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon. It's a fun illustrated novel, with enough of a feel of a comic book to lighten anyone's mood. Best of all, Ursula Vernon really gets what makes kids laugh - gross slime, creepy dark caves, and best friends who need rescuing from all sorts of situations. The latest in this series - Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster - is sure to please kids who want humor, comics and a dash of adventure.
Ursula Vernon does a terrific job of making kids laugh and squirm at the gross, stinky descriptions, and the friends' snarky banter. But Vernon also works fun science into the mix. I know a lot of kids will think it's pretty cool that Steve is out in the jungle studying bats, trying to find new species. Really, though, what draws kids in and hooks them are Vernon's illustrations. The book is full of bold, two-color drawings in green and black. I especially love Danny and Wendell's oversized, expressive eyes. There are illustrations on nearly every page, some as comic book panels, and others as spot art sprinkled throughout the text.
Fantastic series for younger kids or those who are intimidated by large text blocks. The layout of these books are perfect for delivering a mix of easily digestible formatting, with just enough full text pages to give a sense of accomplishment for the challenges reader.
Don't think these are just fluff books though, these are solid well fleshed out little stories. Just enough innocent mischief and intrigue to keep the kids chewing through without being obnoxious.
A wonderful series, with all my kids now enjoying it. Beautiful little hardback books!
Our 8 yr old son LOVED the Dragon Breath series because they make him "Laugh his head off!". He has read every book in the series, a few of them in a day. When asked why he likes these books he said "Because they have good characters, are funny, adventurous, and the story lines are crazy - crazy AWESOME!". All of theses things make this book and the others in the series incredibly interesting to a kiddo who enjoys funny adventures.
As a parent I appreciate that they are funny without being totally stupid and that they are easy to read without being "dumbed down". I would say the reading level is higher than Big Nate but not as high as say Harry Potter. These are great transition books for readers who need a bit more of a challenge. However they are also great for more advanced readers who just want to read a great story about an amazing adventure.
Overall a great series and I would highly recommend for the 8-9 yr old set.
I've been a huge fan of Ursula Vernon's art and prose for six years, and it's always nice to see more of her work. This installment of the Dragonbreath series didn't quite live up to the previous three -- the plot goes in a straight line with hardly any twists or turns. But the art is still lovely (the bat monster is super adorable) and the writing is still full of clever phrases and descriptive gems. It is a quick and fun read that will leave you smiling.