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The Dragon's Boy by Jane Yolen- 5 stars!

Today's Tea Choice: Celestial Seasonings Nutcracker Sweet tea

Trigger Warnings: mild abuse scenes/ bullying

Genre: YA fantasy

Pages: 132


Before the legendary Arthur became king, he took lessons from a dragon . . .Artos is a lonely child, teased or ignored by the other boys in the castle of Sir Ector. One day, he follows Sir Ector’s runaway hound into a mysterious, dark cave, where he encounters a dragon who offers him the gift of wisdom.Both frightened and intrigued, Artos becomes the dragon’s student and gains what he’s always longed for: the friendship and respect of other boys. Under the guidance of the dragon, Artos’s life begins to take shape in a way he could never have imagined. But has Artos really learned everything the dragon has to teach? And what does the dragon mean when he refers to him as “Artos Pendragon,” or “Arthur son of dragon”?This ebook features a personal history by Jane Yolen including rare images from the author’s personal collection, as well as a note from the author about the making of the book.  

My Review:

Dragons are one of my favorite mythological creatures, and I also love to read novels about Medieval times. Where did the legend of King Arthur begin? How did he become so wise?

What I loved:

Setting/Historical Context: The setting details were richly described. Yolen did an excellent job of painting medieval landscapes through words, and the reader feels immersed in another time period. Since Artos is an orphan, he lives with a Lord and Lady in a modest manor with other boys. There is also a humble village which was also described in good detail, especially with sensory details such as the forge at the blacksmith shop.

Characters and Dialogue:  The Dragon character, who isn’t named and revealed until later, was my favorite! He’s very grand and funny.  Yolen has a talent for writing witty characters, and the dialogue reveals the core values of this novel.


The great whisper that answered him came in a rush of wind: “I Am The Dragon!” “Oh!” Artos said. “Is that all you can say?” the dragon asked peevishly. “I tell you I Am The Dragon and all you can answer is oh?” Artos was silent. (Yolen)


Since this is a tale about Artos becoming Arthur, we learn about his character progression. For example, the Dragon asks one day: “So, young Artos of Sir Ector’s castle, how would you like to be paid—in gold, in jewels, or in wisdom?” (Yolen.)

Artos was another great character because he is a relatable outcast, looking to fit in since he doesn’t have any blood family members. We see that Artos values gold at first but slowly learns wisdom is crucial for survival and worth more..


Symbolism: Yolen also made a nod to various symbols from classic Arthurian legends. For example, Old Linn is a wizard who lives at the manor, but nobody dares approach him. Later on in the plot, the sword and stone legend is hinted at when Artos buys his first weapon with a “stone” jewel.


What Needed Improvement:


My only criticism of this story was the plot moved too quickly, and I wish we had seen more background into Artos’s life. Otherwise, this was a fun, Arthurian legend novel!


Authors Can Learn:


How to write about medieval settings


How to write origin legends with an original twist


The value of witty dialogue


Character arc progression.


Readers Will Love This For:


A twist on an Arthurian legend origin story with a mighty dragon!



I give this book 5 stars.




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