Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Great Field Guide For The Young Dragon Watcher!
Longtime fans of Dungeons and Dragons will recognize all of the dragons included in this slim, elegant manual. Those of us who began playing back in the 1970s know these dragons by heart. However, we've never seen the material presented in this way.

My son and I read together all the time. We enjoyed a lot of fantasy novels, including the Harry Potter books, and he gets totally captivated by imaginary creatures. Last night, while perusing the new releases, my son discovered this book. The first time I noticed that he had it Was when I realized how quiet it had gotten. Though he enjoys reading books with me, he doesn’t necessarily enjoy watching me look through the racks. He’s nine, so he can fold up and sit on the floor anywhere.

Last night he was folded up reading this book. When I asked what he was looking at, I could see the excitement in his eyes when he showed me this book. I recognize that immediately as Dungeons and Dragons material, but the usual TSR and/or Wizards of the Coast Logos were nowhere to be seen. I looked at the publisher and realized it was Mirrorstone, an offshoot of the Wizards of the Coast publishing arm that directs books at young readers.

My nine year old loves read about animals. I don’t know how many times he’s come home and told me about animals he’s read about and school. If he’s not a zoologist, then he’s going to be well-educated when it comes to animals.

Even imaginary ones!

The book is wonderful to look at. I flipped through the pages with him and talked about the times I had played Dungeons and Dragons and had to fight to the death against some of these creatures. Of course, he was mortified that I would even think about killing dragons. I tried to explain that some of them were evil and some of them had gold and treasure I wanted. He told me that dragons were entitled to their homes and that I was greedy. I didn’t even bother to explain about experience points. I could only imagine my son’s character getting charred and someone’s campaign while trying to save dragons.

The pictures in the book are colorful and vivid, and printed on what looks like parchment paper. The combination gives the book the look of an illustrated manuscript. It’s an oversized hardcover that looks like it can take years of love and punishment. (With children, love and punishment for favorite toys often cannot be separated.)

After we got home, my son continue to look at the book for over an hour, reading through the sections he got interested in. He came to me and ask the questions about dragons, testing my knowledge. I surprised him by knowing most of them, their breath weapons as well as whether or not they were good or evil. He told me he would study the book for a while, then I could test him.

Finding a book that totally entertains a child and immerses their imagination in another world is hard to find. Especially one there willing to pursue on their own. The language in the book is suitable for an aggressive second grader to read independently. The pictures will also inspire the budding young artist.

If you’re looking for a unique gift for a birthday party, a book to take on long family trips, or something that won’t get read once and simply filed away, I think you’ll find A Practical Guide To Dragons is a great book to entertain a young imagination over and over.

1 comment:

Julie Burgess Wells said...

What an interesting and insightful book, Practical Guide to Dragons is. Now, i know more about the legendary, mythical animal than, its moods, powers, favorite things, places, behavior than even some of my friends. After i read Beyond This Point There Be Dragons i thought no other dragon fantasy book would excite me. But who knew that a dragon fantsy help guide, let alone a book called Practical Guide to Dragons would be an absolutely delectable find.

Author, Lisa Trumbauer has done a nifty job with the details and illustrations and has come upw ith a book that excites both the young and mature minds. Dungeons and Dragons fans, get your hands on this book ASAP.