A young dragon just learning to fly discovers the land of fairies in Nancy Benson’s picture book Fairies and Dragons.
Hunter, a dragon sent out by his father to practice flying, finds himself tired and stranded in territory he doesn’t recognize. Luckily, Hunter meets a group of fairies, including young Sylvie, who comfort Hunter and care for him, helping him plan and prepare for his return trip.
Then one day, Hunter’s father, a huge dragon, comes looking for him. At first, Hunter’s father is angry at the fairies, who he accuses of keeping Hunter away from his family. But Hunter explains that the fairies have helped him, and as a reward, Hunter’s father promises them protection from all dragons. In the end, Hunter and his father leave to go home, but offer hope that when Hunter becomes a better flyer, he will come back to visit.
The book provides a pleasant story and a meaningful message: seemingly that dragons and fairies—and by extension, any two people or groups who look different from each other—can be friends. However, that moral is a bit muddled at times, as one page reads, “Just because they looked different does not mean they are not the same,” while another reads, “[..] dragons and fairies could be friends, even though they are so very different.” A deeper dive into what differences the author is referring to would be helpful.
The book’s writing also suffers from punctuation errors, run-on sentences, and occasional typos. Yet the art is excellent, with attractive images of the dragons, fairies, and landscapes rendered in beautiful colors, including a blue-green hue that showcases the vegetation and the magical nature of fairy land. The illustrations capture moments of excitement and quiet contemplation equally well.
Fairies and Dragons has engaging illustrations, likable characters, and a potentially important message. If could benefit, however, from better editing and revision to clarify the story’s underlying moral.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.