In two linked stories in this children’s picture book, dragons wear disguises to blend in with humans.
Dragons Den is a cottage that houses a family of dragons who wear coats, boots, gloves, hats, and wigs to disguise their true identities from passing villagers. But, in the first story, two boys see the dragons without their disguises and assume they must be people at a costume party. The boys create dragon disguises and infiltrate the party, but one dragon sees through their charade and decides that the dragon family must relocate.
In the book’s second part, a baby dragon resides in a cage inside the reptile house at the zoo. A new family of dragons that has moved nearby rescues the baby dragon. Later, the dragons attend a costume party given by the villagers and impress everyone with how much they look like dragons.
The book is written in rhyming verse which can be fun, but often falters: the pattern isn’t always consistent and the line lengths vary significantly at times, which makes it challenging to find a rhythm while reading aloud.
There’s a nice symmetry to the way both stories involve disguises, but a stronger link between the two sections would have provided a more cohesive reading experience. In addition, readers will wonder how the baby dragon came to be in the zoo, which is never explained.
Readers outside the U.K. might also stumble on some examples of “British English,” like “macs” for long coats, “fancy-dress ball” instead of “costume party,” or the omission of “of” in “Pushing her out the way.”
The hand-drawn art is also a mixed bag: While unpolished, it shows a refreshing sense of vitality and variety. The dragons are each distinct, for example, making each illustration more interesting to linger on.
The book’s flaws impact enjoyment. While children who love dragons might enjoy parts of The Adventures of Dragons Den, revision would lend it much greater appeal.
Also available as an ebook.