Saturday, September 13, 2014


Dragon Dragon Fly to my window. . . Please

EDITH NESBIT – THE BOOK OF DRAGONS – 1899 – AMAZON.CO.UK – CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (30 Sep 2011)

One remark has to be done before starting reviewing the book. There is no copyright mention, no real publisher, no date. We can find some information on the Amazon page of this book, but not in the book itself. It is clear is only the printer and the distributor. It would be nice if required from their partners to give basic information like: the first name of the author, the person – moral or physical – who is publishing – and has edited – this book, the copyright holder of this edition, etc. Let’s be professional in this business of publishing books.

This having been said we can look at the book. Children’s literature in Great Britain at the end of the 19th century, but also in other countries and centuries, is very rich but with mostly male authors, some universally recognized like Lewis Carroll and his Alice in Wonderland or through the looking glass. Some are less well-known like Frances Hodgson Burnett and his Secret Garden. And what about The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. And we all know The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. And we can add Winnie the Pooh and his friends to this series by A.A. Milne. But Edith Nesbit is like an oddity in this male gallery.

The book here examined is written by a woman and has a real charm of its own.

It deals with dragons. They were frightening in the old days when  people really believed they did exist. And it is true they do exist after all since our mental creatures are just as real as and a lot more frightening most of the time than the real monsters of human essence. Nowadays we know better and even children love them because they only come at night and in the secret of our beds they are the warmest creatures with whom we can sleep in peace and rest happily.

The dragons of this book are practically all of them terrifying and voracious. They inspire terror and they eat you in two mouthfuls. But they can be manipulated because they all have some shortcomings. They do not like water or humidity. They may turn small at night. They have to sleep five minutes every so often but at a regular interval. They cannot eat a princess with a golden heart.

But the funniest part is that they are destroyed – shame on you – or neutralized – that’s better, if it is not neutered – by children with all kinds of help from all kinds of people or entities. From Saint George – the unique dragon killer in our Christian world, though on my side of that Christian world it is rather Saint Michael who kills dragons – or from a sorcerer or a wizard, a witch or a witch doctor, and even a young pig keeper, or whoever you may dream of and want, even the pigs if so you will it.

And peace comes back to the community, often restored in its nearly full integrity because the dragons are tricked into regurgitating or simply vomiting those they have swallowed, even full Parliaments or complete cities, churches and universities included. Better than Jonas and his whale.

So just enjoy the stories and do pull the dragon by the tail and see how terrible and horrible they can become and be.


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