Normally I post my reviews on Goodreads. This blog isn’t intended as a book review blog (not that I’m against them, I follow quite a few and they are the ruin of my bank balance) however considering how many posts prior to this one have been about or sprung from ‘Jane and the Dragon’ (how many? Try here, and here) I felt I really did need to post my review of the book I so enthusiastically tracked down.
As with several other books I have purchased for my son, the for my son part needs to be put in sarcastic quotation marks, like someone is standing there waggling the first two fingers on each of their hands to emphasize the fact it was more for me than he – at least for now. The reading age this book is aimed at is several years away from my seventeen month old son. I’ve sat down repeatedly and tried to read it with him, but we never seem to make it past page 5 (there’s 24 pages, so that’s a dismal failure) if I read the text. We have leafed through to the end admiring the pictures several times and I’ve read the book on my own a couple of times.
Jane is destined to be a lady-in-waiting like her mother, but what she really wants is to be a knight. She is brave enough to tell everyone. In return for her honesty everyone either shuts her down or mocks her for it – except for the court jester, who gives her a suit of armour(it was his because he too once dreamed, but now he wants her to dream it for him). Just in time as well, since a dragon swoops in and captures the prince. Jane seizes the day and rides to the prince’s rescue to fight the dragon and – well I’ll leave you to read the book or watch the show to find out what happens next.
The characters are quite a delight, Jane’s mother and father – even though they are minor characters are clearly drawn (in words, not pictures – though pictures as well since this is a kids book) in their responses to Jane’s announcement that she wishes to be a knight. The prince and king are also well thought through and it’s lovely to see background characters receiving a decent treatment.
Jane herself is what drew me to this book and she didn’t disappoint. Jane is brave and forthright and works hard. She also allows herself to dream big. I love these qualities and can’t help but adore Jane. She also is merciful, which is a great thing for a knight to be – for anyone actually. Jane is in my personal Hall of Fame for good female role models.
The artwork within is colourful and detailed. The costumes, Jane’s wild red hair, the dragon himself, all magnificent. The artwork looks like it has been drawn with coloured pencils so might inspire children to draw their own adventures. I would love to share some here, but I have a feeling that would infringe on copyright, so I’ll just tell you to buy the book yourself or go to the library and borrow it. (Here’s a link to the Book Depository if you want to order online, but I do encourage you to try buying from your local bookstore – after all, tomorrow is Save The Bookstores day.)
I was surprised to find it was originally written in 1988, but republished again when Martin Baynton joined with Weta to make the TV show. I love that in the author bio on the final page there is a small explanation as to the origin of Jane’s character. It’s a great insight as to why Baynton chose to write this book.
All in all it’s a great book. I loved reading it (yes, from an adult perspective as well as a mum perspective) and can’t wait until Xander is a little older and can comprehend the story to see what his reactions are. I think I’ll have to go out and buy the sequels as well. “For him” of course ;p
What did you think of my first book review for a children’s book? Did I miss anything you would consider important?