REVIEW: Here Be Dragons by Susannah Lloyd, illustrated by Paddy Donnelly
Here be dragons! Where? That’s the question in this laugh-out-loud picturebook where everyone’s in on the joke but the hapless knight.
A knight is on a mission: to find and slay a dragon. The other knights have told him that there’s no such thing as dragons, but he doesn’t care. For he has a map, and the map says:
“HERE BE DRAGONS!”
He travels right to the spot marked ‘X’, past treasure, suspicious bones, and many signs telling him to turn back. He wanders up and down a huge, spiky hill (the dragon’s back) shouts into a burrow (the dragon’s nose) and eventually walks into a cave (the dragon’s mouth)… Will the hapless knight see the dragon before it’s too late?!
The illustrations are the best part of this one. True, the prose is cute (and don’t skip over the first two pages showing “Ye Olde Shoppe for the Gullible and Rich”) but carefully scanning the pages for all the clues that the (let’s be honest) silly knight and his wary horse (who is the smart one of the duo) encounter on their way to finding a dragon are the reasons to sit down with this book. There is a stereotype that gets subverted at the end but I’ve seen it done better. Still it’s there so I’ll give the book some points for that. But if you’re on a dragon quest, pay attention to what your horse, along with several other mythical creatures (see if you can spot them), is telling you. B-