Thursday, July 04, 2013


I first heard of the book Kenny and the Dragon during summer reading last year. For the first few weeks I was able to sit in during story time and hear the first chapters of the story. But then there were several weeks when I did not sit in, and I missed the middle and end of the story. Several months later, I found the book at a thrift store and snatched it up eager to find out what happened. I finally picked it up and finished the story a couple weeks ago.

There is a mouse family who farms and has sheep. The son, Kenny, reads a lot. He does not always distinguish between non-fiction and fantasy. His father finds a dragon on their land, Kenny finds it, learns his name, Grahame, and discovers that Grahame isn't like other dragons. But the town finds out there is a dragon and wants it killed. And Kenny doesn't know what to do.

It's a kids book, so it obviously has a happy ending, but there's a lot in between that's got merit.

But at the end of the book Kenny mentions a book called The Reluctant Dragon, written by some old English guy. It turns out to be a real book. So I found it and read it, too. I was expecting a long, tedious and over detailed novel, but found a quick read by, you'll never guess, Kenneth Grahame.

Kenny and the Dragon was based on Mr. Grahame's kid's story The Reluctant Dragon. The stories are quite similar except for a few details. Mr. Grahame's story is sandwiched between a few paragraphs on either side about two kids; it is a story their neighbor tells them. The characters are not named, except for St George who comes to slay the dragon.

I liked Mr. Grahame's story as a beginning. It had room for so much more detail and elaboration (ironically, what I feared it would be overflowing with), it felt a bit flat and vague. I liked what Mr. DiTerlizzi did with it in Kenny and the Dragon, but the original story was interesting, too.

What is better? The original, or what someone built off of it? Does originality stop after the initial idea, or does it include what subsequent people add on, out of their own creativity?

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