________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 16 . . . . March 30, 2007


The Tale of Sir Dragon: Dealing with Bullies for Kids (and Dragons).

Jean E. Pendziwol. Illustrated by Martine Gourbault.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2007.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.95 (pbk.), $17.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-978-55453-136-3 (pbk.), ISBN 1-978-55453-135-6 (bound).

Subject Heading:
Bullying-Juvenile literature.

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 3-9.

Review by Rosemary Hollett.

**** /4

Setting out from Camp Camelot in search of a noble quest, a girl and her dragon friend cross swords with a bully of a knight. The bully says the dragon is too big, tall and green to play with knights. 

One of them sneered, "Well, what have we here?"

And I looked at the dragon, whose eyes filled with fear.

"A dragon!" He smirked. "we've told you before,

You're too big, tall and green to play knights anymore! 

Let's chase him away!" he cried, raising his shield.

"We'll vanquish that dragon!  We'll make that beast yield!"


     Suddenly, playtime is spoiled. The girl stands up for the dragon, but the other bystanders let the bully do as he pleases. It’s time for a petition to the king! After a roundtable discussion, the bully comes to accept that everyone has a right to play - no matter how big, tall or green they are!

     Bullying is a subject frequently discussed in the media, in schools, and at home. This picture book provides a unique way to introduce the subject and is a fabulous starting point for discussion.  Jean E. Pendziwol has once again delivered a winning combination of adventure and information in her series of books starring Dragon and friend. Pendziwol doesn't lecture her audience. Instead, using a rhyming couplet format, she delivers a clear message about bullying in a playful tone that will appeal to children of all ages.

      The delightful illustrations of Martine Gourbault in this fourth "safety" book complement the text and tell a visual story that even non-readers will understand. Using pencil crayons and cartoon-like characters adds softness to each illustration. This approach cushions the visual message for younger readers. The green dragon is rendered especially endearing by this technique which creates a protective feeling from the beginning of the story.

     The book concludes with two pages of suggestions for caregivers on breaking the cycle of bullying. We are reminded to consider the roles of victim, bully and bystander. These roles are addressed in the "The Dragon's Decree," a code of conduct one might adopt as a family or class code.

     I would suggest you add this title to your library, class and home collection. 

Highly Recommended.

At the time of writing this review, Rosemary Hollett was a very cold librarian in Winnipeg, MB, trying desperately to remember the heat of summer 2006.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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