Monday, July 03, 2017

John Ronald's Dragons

John Ronald's Dragons: The Story of J.R.R. Tolkien. Caroline McAlister. Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler. 2017. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: John Ronald was a boy who loved horses. And trees. And strange sounding words. But most of all, John Ronald loved dragons.

Premise/plot: John Ronald's Dragons is a picture book biography of J.R.R. Tolkien the author of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. The time covered in this picture book is from the time he was a boy to the publication of The Hobbit in 1937. The book shows how ordinary people and places and events came to inspire him as a writer later on.
All of a sudden the whole world went to war. John Ronald had to go too. He trudged through mud. He slept in a trench. He heard loud guns. For as far as he could see in any direction, the war had destroyed all the green trees. He tried to shut out the noises of war by making up another imaginary language. It didn't work. It was then that he most needed dragons. But, of course, there were no dragons on the battlefield--only ugly machines belching flames.
This one has great back matter. It includes an author's note, an illustrator's note, a catalog of Tolkien's dragons, dragon-themed quotes by Tolkien, and a bibliography.

My thoughts: As an adult, I really enjoyed this one. Is it a picture book for young children? Maybe, maybe not. Is it a picture book more for adults? Probably. But is it beautifully illustrated? YES, YES, YES. It is beautifully written and illustrated. I do think that the more familiar one is with Tolkien and his Middle Earth the better one is able to appreciate this picture book biography.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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Joy Weese Moll said...

That looks fun -- love the cover!