Book Review: The Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit

Posted July 9, 2017 by lomeraniel in Audiobooks, Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Kids, Review / 0 Comments

Book Review: The Book of Dragons by E. NesbitThe Book of Dragons by E. Nesbit, H. Granville Fell, H.R. Millar
Narrator: Karen Krause
Published by on 01-26-17
Genres: Epic Fantasy, Fantasy, Kids
Length: 4 hrs and 53 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audiobookworm
Overal Rating: three-stars

Dragons — of all sorts — make for marvelous fun, and this collection of madcap tales is filled with them. Some of the legendary monsters are funny and mischievous, others are downright frightening, and a number of them are wild and unpredictable. There's a dragon made of ice, another that takes refuge in the General Post Office, a scaly creature that carries off the largest elephant in a zoo, and even a dragon whose gentle purring comforts a tiny tot.And who challenges these amazing creatures? Why, daring heroes, of course, as well as a wicked prince, and even an entire soccer team — which, unfortunately, meets its fate with a fire-breathing brute that flies out of the pages of an enchanted book.E. (Edith) Nesbit (1858–1924) was one of the pioneers of fantasy fiction for children. Her classic novels — such as The Railway Children and Five Children and It — have remained popular for more than a century. 24 illustrations.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Karen Krause. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

This is a collection of nine tales about dragons written by Edith Nesbit, and first published in 1899. Dragons are not necessarily the key in these tales. In most cases it is just an evil figure to fight against, but the main characters are others, usually children.

Most of the tales show a great amount of imagination, but in some cases some things did not make a lot of sense (an island with an opposite rotation to Earth’s, and that making animals to be the wrong size, for instance). I disliked the condescending tone, and wrong affirmations delivered as universal truths (all magicians are bad).

I had more issues with this book. I do not mind reading old books, but I am not sure if a book like this would be adequate for children nowadays. It is incredibly old-fashioned in many senses: children are constantly slapped and caned, and girls are usually described as helpless and silly,  only good for domestic tasks. As an adult I understand that it was a different time with different customs, but a child may not realize this. Usually I am not keen on adaptations, but in a case like this I think it would be necessary, if the reader is going to be a young kid.

The book gives great importance to the fact of being a princess or a prince. And in one of the tales a young boy is constantly disciplined just for having an inquiring mind. Again, I understand it is quite normal for a book from that time, but these are not the principles and ideas I would like to transmit to our children. Tales about learning, equality, fairness, and feminism are much more important to my eyes.

Karen Krause’s narration was very good, delivering different voices and interpreting the characters well. The fact that I did not enjoy the book does not have anything to do with her narration, and I would definitely would like to listen to her other books.


Story (Plot)
Overall: three-stars