Thursday, November 20, 2014

Dealing with Dragons - Patricia C. Wrede

Dealing with Dragons
I feel as though I am giving you all a sneak peek into my childhood today. This was one of my absolutely favorite books as a kid. I believe I got it for Christmas (from my awesome Aunt Iris) the year of second or third grade. I distinctly remember reading it in fourth grade (more on that in a minute), but I am fairly certain that time was a rereading. So, that puts me at somewhere between eight and ten when I received it. Perfect age, although I was categorized as an advanced reader at that point. 

Ok, back to that fourth grade story. I'm telling you - I loved this book. Still do. I read it over and over and over. Yet, I am a very firm believer that books should be treated like friends. I've always been careful not to do too much spine bending or page folding. I would never ever dog ear a book to mark my place. Bookmarks all the way. When Kevin set a wet towel on our copy of Insurgent on the way home from the pool a few summers ago, I about had a heart attack. I might be a bit overeager in this particular area of my life. I just like things to be well taken care of. 

All that to say, I get nervous about lending books out. So, when my fourth grade teacher, a woman with whom I already had a tumultuous relationship, asked if she could borrow the book to read it aloud to the class, I was torn. Ultimately, I said yes. To my dismay, she ended up reading the book aloud to the class during the time some other students and I went to a special enriched learning class. I didn't even get to hear her read one of my favorite books to the rest of the kids AND she returned it completely bent up and wrinkled. She obviously was the type of reader who, to my horror, bent the first part of the book back over the spine when she held it. Tragedy.

This story is a bit ridiculous, I realize. I had a lot of other reasons for disliking that woman, so it seems pretty likely that I've latched onto this story as one of the more tangible ones. If you're out there, fourth grade teacher, I want you to know that I fully blame you for the wretched state this beloved book is now in. How am I supposed to teach my kids about keeping books nice when one of the ones I can't wait to read them is practically destroyed?

*Steps off soap box*

Ahem, I'm ready to talk about the actual book now. Just needed to get that off my chest.

The book tells the story of a fiery princess who runs away and volunteers to be a dragon's princess. As in, the position normally held by princesses captured by said dragons and waiting on rescue from a prince or knight. Princess Cimorene has no patience for standard expectations. She's no ordinary princes. Actually, when I described her to Kevin as a "fiery princess," his response was, "Oh, so she's you." Loved that. That man knows me.

Cimorene befreinds some other princesses, becomes invaluable to her dragon boss Kazul, fights wizards, hangs out with a witch, and meets a stone prince. All while staying true to herself and bucking any sort of traditional fairy tale ideal. 

Long story short, this is a fantasy story that came before Harry Potter and the other myriad of fantasy stories that have exploded in the last decade and a half. It's funny and witty and unique. The characters are fun and full of life. I enjoyed reading it now nearly as much as I did as a ten year old. There are three books that follow and I'm looking forward to rereading them as well. I got them later on, so I think I have only read them once or twice. I remember basically nothing, so it should be a fun adventure. This is all pretty timely as I start my Adolescent Literature course next week. Basically what I'm saying is look for a lot of YA lit as we close out the year.

Pages: 212
Date Completed: November 7, 2014


  1. This is also one of my favorite books! It's a fantasy novel that totally avoids being formulaic, and I love the characters.

    1. Yes! Great assessment! You know, your mom bought the books for me and I think we may have gotten them for you. I could be totally off on that, but it seems right in my memory!