Showing posts sorted by relevance for query dragonbreath. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query dragonbreath. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 13, 2009

DRAGONBREATH by Ursula Vernon

by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, June 2009
Grades 3 and up

Review copy provided by the publisher

What do you read after you've read all the BABYMOUSE books? DRAGONBREATH!

You'll notice some similarities -- the dream sequences in color (green for this book), the imaginative but bumbling main character (Danny Dragonbreath cannot yet breathe fire), the school bully (in this case, a Komodo dragon named Big Eddy) and the intelligent sidekick (Wendell, the green iguana).

And there are also differences -- DRAGONBREATH is a hybrid graphic novel/novel, there is no conversation between the main character and the narrator, and at 146 pages, DRAGONBREATH will take a bit more stamina from the reader.

Danny Dragonbreath is the only mythical creature at the Herpitax-Phibbias School for Reptiles and Amphibians. He is also an incredible procrastinator, turning in a science paper which he writes in less than 15 minutes and which he's hoping his teacher will grade on length and not content, seeing as he completely made up the sea creature featured in his paper -- the Snorklebat. Danny is not so lucky. He gets an F on his paper and must rewrite it by the next day. Luckily, Danny's cousin is a sea serpent who takes Danny and Wendell on a deep sea tour to gather facts for the rewrite. Adventures with a shark and a giant squid ensue, but Danny gets enough good material for an A on his paper.

The next DRAGONBREATH adventure will be ATTACK OF THE NINJA FROGS, but what I really want to know is what happens to the predatory potato salad that Danny uses to get back at Big Eddy in the cafeteria.
A ferocious predator, what the common potato salad lacks in bone structure, it more than makes up for in viciousness. A school of potato salad can skeletonize a cow in under two weeks, assuming that the cow doesn't get bored and move.
The last we see of the potato salad, it is oozing down into a storm drain. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Favorite Series: Dragonbreath

Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster
Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster
by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, 2011
review copy purchased for my classroom library

I love this series.

Maybe we should start with the three reasons I love this series:
1. The humor. (This reason encompasses characters, setting, plot, plot twists, a magic bus that isn't driven by Ms. Frizzle, and recurring themes -- "Can it skeletonize a cow in under two weeks?" They are all FUNNY!!)
2. The way every book is better than the one before it.
3. The design of the book. (This reason encompasses size, shape, illustrations, colors, and its hybrid graphic novel-ness.)

So. That pretty much covers it. I love everything about this series.

In this installment, Vernon blends graphic novel, fantasy novel, humor, and NONFICTION ABOUT ENDANGERED RAIN FORESTS AND RAIN FOREST ANIMALS AND MAYAN MYTHOLOGY all in one book. Brilliant, no?

Danny Dragonbreath and his sidekick Wendell rescue a bat from the swimming pool. They ride the magic bus to the rainforests of Mexico, where Danny's cousin Steve is trying to discover a new species of bat in order to save bat habitat in the rainforest. Steve teaches them about the bat they saved, and then invites them to see the bat cave he's discovered. They see the bat cave, with bats pouring out of it at dusk, but something odd happens -- all the bats fly back into the cave.
"Something burst out of the trees. was huge. It wasn't an animal sort of huge, it was the huge he associated with cranes and bulldozers and building equipment.  The elephants at the zoo were big, but this was the size of a house, and it wasn't moving like anything he'd ever seen.
Then it stepped forward, and he thought of a gorilla the size of a building, like King Kong, because that was how it moved, big shoulders and arms crashing down, and smaller hindquarters swinging forward.
Except that it wasn't a gorilla.
'Holy crud,' breathed Danny. 'it's a bat.' "
Turns out, it's Camazotz (Mrs. Camazotz, to be exact) of Mayan Mythology fame. And she grabs Danny to keep as her pet. And Steve and Wendell have to save Danny. And Wendell is a self-proclaimed scaredy cat. ("They had a system. Danny was fearless and Wendell was terrified, and it worked out between them.")

And now I'm going to stop writing so you can go get the book and read it for yourself.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dragonbreath: Ninja Frogs and Were-Wieners

Dragonbreath #02: Attack of the Ninja Frogs
by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, 2010
copy purchased for my classroom library

The father of one of my math students was amused by the fact that my last name is same as the evil crime boss guy in the Bruce Lee classic kung fu movie "Enter the Dragon." He was so amused that he sent the movie in with his son for me to bring home and watch. Which I did, but mostly because I live with someone who is, if not a kung fu movie expert, at least someone who has watched enough of them to walk me through the hallmarks of the genre.

All of that by way of saying that if you've watched just ONE kung fu movie (or probably just one episode of any Saturday morning ninja cartoons) this book will be so funny you will start quoting out loud from it after only a few pages.
"Danny sighed. Pepperoni pizza was a good thing--possibly a great thing--but not as awesome as kung fu movies. Hardly anything was.

Still, he couldn't be too upset. Seven Fists of Carnage was going to be on tonight. He hoped it was as good as his all-time favorite, Vengeance of the Thirteen Masters, in which a blind salamander samurai fights off thirteen ninja clans, using only a pair of chopsticks.

Danny passed the time until the pizza arrived by drawing ninjas. Drawing ninjas was difficult because you couldn't really see a ninja. So the drawings mostly consisted of places where ninjas might be hiding."
Suki, the Japanese exchange student who complicates things by being a girl, is being attacked by ninja frogs. She doesn't even believe in ninjas, but since they're "practically mythological," they're right up Danny's alley, seeing as he's a dragon.

Danny, his friend Wendell, and Suki set out to get to the bottom of why the ninjas are so interested in Suki. They take the bus (the same one that took them to the Sargasso Sea in the first book) to mythological Japan where Danny's great-grandfather lives, and where they learn that Suki must choose between becoming a veterinarian and the leader of an underground ninja clan.

Dragonbreath #03: Curse of the Were-Wiener
by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, on shelves September 16, 2010
arc from Cover to Cover Children's Books

Wendell: "Do you ever worry that your childhood is warping you in some fashion?"
Danny: "Are you kidding? I'm counting on it."

YAY! The potato salad that slunk into the storm sewer in the first book comes back to save the day in this one!

Wendell is bit by his school cafeteria hot dog and starts growing hair on his back. A quick trip into the cafeteria's freezer reveals that some of the hot dogs served were Were-Wieners, a product of Transylvania. Unfortunately, Danny doesn't have any relatives there, so they can't take the bus this time. Even though "Calling the company did not hold the same appeal as storming a factory in the vampire-ridden Carpathians," Wendell calls the number listed on the package where "It says 'In case of missing product, damage or lycanthropy, call 1-800-WURST-R-US' " and learns that they must kill the alpha wurst so that the rest of were-wieners lose their power and Wendell can be restored to normal.

Either I'm channeling my inner fourth grader, or I'm simply relaxed enough after only a couple of days of vacation to get my sense of humor back (or both) but this series is turning out to be one of my all-time favorites.

Other Dragonbreath fans:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Post on Book Purchases

I was at Cover to Cover last Saturday, too. Like Franki, I didn't so much have a shopping list of books I was hoping to find, as I had some readers in mind that I was hoping to steer in a new reading direction with my purchases.

Historical fiction is a book gap for me and for many of my students. The huge bag of historical fiction picture books I brought from the public library was pretty much of a bust for getting them to dig into more historical fiction, so I'm going to pull every historical fiction novel off my shelves and book talk them along with the four books from the I Survived series that I picked up. Navigating Early is also technically historical fiction, and I'm anxious for the Rubik's Cube Savant and his Sidekick to read this book. Watching them solve The Cube reminds me of the way Early thinks about Pi.

For my middle-of-the-road boy readers, I'm hoping that Gordon Korman's Island trilogy will a.) introduce them to a new author, and b.) get them going on some non-graphic novels. Gary Paulsen's new book with his son, Road Trip, will have to wait until I've read it. (How much school work can I delay so that I can get this book read?!?!)

Dragonbreath is a good hybrid series -- a little bit graphic novel, a little bit text novel -- and it's very funny. I haven't been able to keep up, but I've read at least four of them. Book #8 is Dragonbreath #8: Nightmare of the Iguana. I'm trying not to buy any more graphic novels this year because a significant chunk of my collection has gone missing, but I couldn't resist just this one.

Because of Karen, I bought The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy. (I also bought it for my Kindle app -- it was the Kindle Daily Deal last Saturday!) Looks like we won't have to wait too long for book two!

Like Franki, the minute I saw Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems I had to have it, and Franki knew I wouldn't be able to resist I Haiku You (more on that one in a future post).

The new Elephant and Piggie (Let's Go for a Drive! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)) I even need a reason to own more Mo Willems?!?

All I can say about this purchasing spree at Cover to Cover is -- GOOD THING I HAD A GIFT CERTIFICATE!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Books for Fairy Tale Lovers

I have several 3rd graders who are hooked on fairy tale novels. I think most of them were hooked with the Whatever After series early in the year, and they've moved on from there (even though they devour the new ones as they are released). Many books I have in the classroom. Others, they've discovered on their own and shared with other readers who have similar tastes.  There are so many series out there that fit exactly what these kids are looking for---fairy tales or something connected in some way to the fairy tales they know and love.  These are some of the favorites in the classroom right now.  They are all great for grades 3-5ish.

The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer.  You can visit the Land of Stories webpage here.

The Fairy Dust Trilogy by Gail Carson Levine

The Grace Lin trilogy (3rd one due out this year) is a great series for kids who enjoy other fantasy/fairy tales.  Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is the first in this trilogy. 

We are currently reading aloud Rump by Liesl Shurtliff. My kids love this one and are anxious to read the other two in this series,  Jack: The True Story of Jack and the Beanstalk and Red: The True Story of Red Riding Hood.


The Kingdom Keepers series isn't quite a fairy tale but there are lots of familiar characters and storylines as it takes place in Disney World!  There is a Kingdom Keepers website that you can visit here.

The Sisters Grimm( Fairy Detectives is the first in the series) is another great fairy tale series by Michael Buckley.

A new favorite is the Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon (author of the Dragonbreath series).  I read this one last summer and could not believe how much I loved this princess and the humor in these stories. There are only 2 out in the series but we hope there are lots more coming soon!

And we love the Tuesdays at the Castle series at our school. Last year we were lucky enough to host Jessica Day George for an author visit and it's been fun to see kids continue to be excited about the new books in the series too!  

This is one of my favorite kinds of books so it has been fun to watch a group of 3rd graders discover the fun in these this year!

Monday, July 09, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Jen and Kellee for hosting this great weekly event at TEACH MENTOR TEXTS!

I haven't done a It's Monday post for a while so I'll catch you up on the last few weeks of my reading. I spent  the end of June reading some series books that Tony Keefer and others recommended. I am trying to mostly catch up on books I will need to know as I go back into a 4th grade classroom this fall.  Fun books that lots of kids might be reading in early 4th grade. Although I had these in the library, I hadn't gotten a chance to read them so I spent some time doing that.

DRAGONBREATH by Ursula Vernon was a fun read. I can see why lots of my 3rd graders were hooked last year. The character is a likable one and the plot was fun.  I can see readers of graphic novels such a Babymouse enjoying this series as well. Mary Lee reviewed the first in this series 3 YEARS AGO. So I am definitely a little late in reading it. Glad I finally did.

I enjoyed SNARF ATTACK (RIOT BROTHERS) far more than I expected to.  I am not big on goofy humor but I liked these two characters and found myself laughing out loud often throughout the book. I will definitely get more of this series for the classroom. The book was definitely goofy, but in a good way. There are big supports for readers and the plot and characters are engaging.

I also enjoyed the book from Jake Maddox's SOCCER SHOOTOUT.  This is a book that is part of a collection of sports books by this same author. The books seem great for readers who are not yet ready for longer books. Maddox also seems like an author that can stretch readers beyond the sports they are reading. This story had a good plat about two boys who play the same position in soccer. The real-life sports issue was a good one and the plot was definitely engaging. Looking forward to getting more of these for the classroom. I discovered the Sports Illustrated Graphic Novels earlier this year and think Maddox's books will support readers who love to read sports stories about kids their age.

I read my first book in the BINDI series called A WHALE OF A TIME. Bindi's Wildlife Adventures is a nice series that focuses on topics different from most series books. Author Bindi Irwin is the daughter of the Crocodile Hunter and has a passion for animals and the environment. In this particular story, Bindi and her friends are out on a boat when they notice an oil spill from a nearby boat. The work together to do what they can to get the spill taken care of and to protect the whales that live in this part of the ocean. These books are short so very accessible to kids. But I haven't seen other series books for this age that focus on kids and the environment. Readers of animal books will love this series.

I also read GUY-WRITE by Ralph Fletcher which I LOVED and reviewed last week.

This week, I spent time reading books on my ever-growing TBR stack. I was thrilled to pick up an ARC Of Sharon Creech's upcoming novel THE GREAT UNEXPECTED. This was a great story about two girls who meet a boy who falls out of a tree. Lots happens from there and the girls get caught up in quite an adventure--one that brings them closer to those people who love them. This is another great story by Creech about belonging and finding out who you really are. This book is due out in early September.

My favorite read of the week was HORTEN's MIRACULOUS MECHANISMS by Lissa Evans. This is the story of Horten who moves to a new city with his parents. While he is there, he discovers that he had a great uncle who was a magician and that his workshop is hidden somewhere in the city. Horten goes on a quest to find the workshop and makes some friends along the way.  This story is just plain fun and it looks to be the first in a series.

I have been meaning to read EMILY'S FORTUNE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for a while and I finally go to it this week. I can see why Mary Lee raves about it. This is a fun story of a girl who has lost her family and is on a trip to live with her aunt across the county.  But the trip is not an easy one as she escapes many close calls with people who don't have her best interests in mind. A fun fast-paced story. (Mary Lee reviewed this one a while back.)

Finally, I read ON THE ROAD TO MR. MINEO'S--Barbara O'Connor's upcoming novel. I LOVE LOVED LOVED this book and will write more about it soon. I was so happy to have been lucky enough to read it early and I can't wait to get a copy of the book when it is released on October 2. More to come on this book soon, I promise!