#285 – Young Henry and the Dragon by Jeanne Kaufman

Henry_ cover.

Young Henry and the Dragon

by Jeanne Kaufman

Daria Tessler, illustrator

Shenanigan Books

5 Stars

Inside Jacket:  Lost in the woods, Young Henry can’t get his campfire started.  His toes are cold and he can’t even make a cup of tea.  But when he tries to trick a very disagreeable dragon into snorting out a flame, his plan backfires and the dragon gets the last laugh.

Layout 1

Young Henry went adventuring and found himself far from home when daylight starts to disappear.  Cold and hungry, Young Henry did not have any way to start a fire under his pot.  With map in hand, Young Henry found a cave to spend in which he could the night.  Along the way he spies a dragon’s den and gets an idea.

Why, the dragon could light his fire.  All Young Henry had to do was catch a bit of the dragon’s flame and he would have fire to heat his tea and warm his toes.  The dragon had other plans.

“Begone!” the dragon puffed and growled.

“Begone, or you’ll be toast.”

It snorted out a little blaze.

“I’ll have a squire roast!”

 Layout 1

Young Henry came up with a plan.  If he could get the dragon to laugh, he might be able to grab a piece of his flame.  Young Henry made funny faces, contorted himself into oddly funny poses, danced a jig, and told a joke.  The dragon did not even show a slight grin.  Young Henry finally realizes the dragon is not going to snort a flame; not that night with him around.  He turns to leave, trips, falls, and flips into a tree, which dumps leaves, sticks and acorns upon his head.  The dragon let out a “huge GUFFAW” and with it a long flame.

Young Henry got his little flame, snuck past the dragon, which was still on the ground laughing, and retreated to his safe cave.  Now with a fire roaring, Young Henry warmed his toes, brewed his tea, and made his famous turnip fricassee.  Out in the woods, just beyond Young Henry’s fire, rose a “massive” shadow.”  It was the dragon.  What could he want? What might he do to Young Henry, who stole a bit of its flame?


I love this story.  Told in rhyme, Young Henry and the Dragon is a fun read-aloud.  This simple tale of a young boy, out for adventure and loses track of time, is delightfully funny.  Young Henry found the adventure he was looking for, just not the way he thought it would be.  The dragon, alone in his den asleep, has barely smiled for half a century.  Together they find an odd friendship formed from mutual need.

The illustrations add to the story, bringing out the texture in a combination of drawing, painting, Layout 1doodling, and traditional silkscreen.  Fully detailed from edge to edge, the spreads take the reader into the woods where Young Henry and the dragon meet.  Young boys will love this picture book, though I would not discount girls.

I enjoyed the rhyming text.  It is smooth throughout making it easy and enjoyable to read, even repeatedly.  Young Henry and the Dragon is a whimsically funny story that is understandable from either the text or the illustrations.  Together, the two make a winning combination for Shenanigan Books, an up and coming publisher.


Young Henry and the Dragon

by Jeanne Kaufman    website    facebook
Daria Tessler, illustrator    website    blog
Shenanigan Books    website    blog
Released September 1, 2011
ISBN:  978-1-934860-11-3
32 pages
Ages: 4 to 8
Copyright © 2011 by Shenanigan Books, used with permission.
Text: Copyright © 2011 by Jeanne Kaufman
Illustrations:  Copyright © 2011 by Daria Tessler






young henry



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5 thoughts on “#285 – Young Henry and the Dragon by Jeanne Kaufman

    • Sometimes the illustrations are what sell a book. The story is good with Young Henry but definitely not what I was expecting between a young squire and a dragon. Big twist.


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