Volunteers needed in March!   Click here to sign up.
 Site Areas: 
Printer-friendly version   

The Dragons Are Singing Tonight

Last updated Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Author: Jack Prelutsky
Illustrator: Peter Sis
Date of Publication: 1993
ISBN: 068809645X
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2007

Synopsis: Amazon.com: "If you don't believe in dragons, / It is curiously true / That the dragons you disparage / Choose to not to believe in you," matter-of-factly claims America's premiere children's poet Jack Prelutsky. Dragons aren't all the same, of course--some are amiable, some are disconsolate, and some are downright nasty. Here Prelutsky, who has written over 30 books of poetry for children, turns his considerable talents to the subject of dragons--a secret dragon, a thunder dragon, a mechanical dragon, even a lazy dragon who likes to sleep all day. The 17 poems range from the whimsical to the scary, but all reflect Prelutsky's incomparable flair for rhythm and humor. The fabulous fire-breathers are illustrated in all their irresistible splendor by award-winning artist Peter Sis. The sophisticated style of his large oil paintings is complemented by his trademark borders in antique gold, giving the pages an Old World look. If you don't believe in dragons then you need this book, because the magical combination of art and poetry will make you and your kids believers. If you listen closely, you might even hear the dragons singing tonight: "We are dragons! We are real!"

Note to readers:
•  This is a book of poems and not a story. They are cute and you should read them in a sing/song voice. You will have time to read all of the poems as some are very short.
•  Discussion will be filled with defining words they are not familiar with. Some difficult words are listed below, some with definitions.
•  Amiable (friendly), lethal, unleash, summon, muzzle, disparage (insult, criticize), scales (to measure vs on fish), sabers, fierce, plume, ferocious, unmendable, unusable, unusual, irregular, maneuvers, fizzle, pallid (pale), turpentine, phosphorus, incalculable, lairs, cacophonous (harsh sounds), chorus, exploits, fiery, vast, caches (hiding place), treble, enchanted, lament (regret), brimming, miserable, brute, brazenly, pillage and loot, repulsive, despicable, stroll, herd, whirlwinds, cyclones, domain, fury, vanish, massive, searing, malevolent (wishing evil), preposterous (outrageous), stratagems (cunning plan/trickery), resuming, fricassee (a dish of stewed meat in a thick, white sauce), disconsolate (unhappy/disappointed), woven, obeisance (deference/submissive gesture), derision (ridicule/mock), unsurpassed

Discussion topics:
•  Do you believe in dragons? Can dragons sing?
•  When did dragons rule the earth? Are they around now?
•  Where dragons friendly or unfriendly?

Craft ideas:
•  Write a poem about dragons. Start with describing how your dragon looks or what it does. Use some of the new vocabulary words. SEE PAGE WITH AUTHOR'S NOTES ON HOW TO WRITE A POEM
•  Make a dragon mobile. Cut out 5 medium circles, 2 long triangles (for the flame and tail), and 3 medium triangle for scales or 2 medium triangles for wings. Glue the flame and tail on two of the circles. Draw eyes or scales or other designs on the 3 remaining circles. Attach/glue the scales or wings to the remaining 3 circles. Put holes in each of the circles to attach them with string/yarn.
•  Make a dragon picture. Cut out different size triangles and glue them in a straight or curvy line on a piece of construction paper. Draw in the flames and eyes. Color a picture in the background—a castle, the mountains etc… to finish off the picture.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!