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The Reluctant Dragon Page Samples

One page from all three age levels

All of our Cobblestone Books will be written to appeal to kids of multiple ages. My old High School friend Alex, asked me if his 7 and (almost) 9 year old sons would be too young for these books. I suppose the best way to show him would be with an example page from each age level.

The story of the Reluctant Dragon has a prologue and an epilogue that only appear in the Young Adult version. I'll skip ahead to the part where the Father first discovers the dragon:

 Young Children's Version:

One day, the Boy's father said, "I heard scary sounds in the cave in the hills. I looked inside and saw a huge blue monster with big claws!"

The Boy said, "Don't worry father, it's only a dragon. I'll go up there tomorrow and have a talk with him."


Older Children's version:

One evening, the Boy's father arrived home terribly upset! "Goodness gracious me!" he said, "I can never go up to those hills ever again!"

   "Sit down and tell us what happened" his wife said.

    The father sat down on a kitchen chair and told them what he saw.

   "For the past few nights, I've been hearing strange sounds coming from the cave up there - noises like grunting or snoring. This evening, as I was heading home, I decided to have a look inside and I saw a huge creature covered in blue scales with huge claws sleeping in the mouth of the cave!"


Young Adult Version:

One evening the shepherd, who for some nights past had been disturbed and preoccupied, and off his usual mental balance, came home all of a tremble, and, sitting down at the table where his wife and son were peacefully employed, she with her seam, he in following out the adventures of the Giant with no Heart in his Body, exclaimed with much agitation:

   "It's all up with me, Maria! Never no more can I go up on them there Downs, was it ever so!"

   "Now don't you take on like that," said his wife, who was a very sensible woman: "but tell us all about it first, whatever it is as has given you this shake-up, and then me and you and the son here, between us, we ought to be able to get to the bottom of it!"

   "It began some nights ago," said the shepherd. "You know that cave up there — I never liked it, somehow, and the sheep never liked it neither, and when sheep don't like a thing there's generally some reason for it. Well, for some time past there's been faint noises coming from that cave—noises like heavy sighings, with grunts mixed up in them; and sometimes a snoring, far away down — real snoring, yet somehow not honest snoring, like you and me o'nights, you know!"

   "I know," remarked the Boy, quietly.

   "Of course I was terrible frightened," the shepherd went on; "yet somehow I couldn't keep away. So this very evening, before I come down, I took a cast round by the cave, quietly. And there — O Lord! There I saw him at last, as plain as I see you!"

   "Saw who?" said his wife, beginning to share in her husband's nervous terror.

   "Why him, I'm a telling you!" said the shepherd. "He was sticking half-way out of the cave, and seemed to be enjoying of the cool of the evening in a poetical sort of way. He was as big as four cart-horses, and all covered with shiny scales — deep-blue scales at the top of him, shading off to a tender sort o' green below. As he breathed, there was that sort of flicker over his nostrils that you see over our chalk roads on a baking windless day in summer. He had his chin on his paws, and I should say he was meditating about things. Oh, yes, a peaceable sort o’ beast enough, and not ramping or carrying on or doing anything but what was quite right and proper. I admit all that. And yet, what am I to do? Scales, you know, and claws, and a tail for certain, though I didn't see that end of him — I ain't used to 'em, and I don't hold with 'em, and that's a fact!"

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