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‘Dragons!’ A Stumble of Bloodthirsty Creatures for the iPad

This is one terrifying group of foul-smelling, vicious creatures, drawn in full color with careful attention to detail. With literary references galore, this title will be appreciated by readers young and old.

Title: Dragons!
Gerrie McCall
Patrick Mulrey and Myke Taylor/The Art Agency
Produced by:
Amber Books Ltd
Developed by:
iOS, requires devices, 4.0 and later

Gr 4 Up-Twenty dragons from legend, mythology, and contemporary fiction are featured in this app. Readers familiar with J.RR Tolkien’s The Hobbit (1937) and J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000) will recognize Smaug and the Hungarian Horntail found in those titles, while European and Asian legends are represented by Fafnir and Orochi, among others.

When the app is opened, 20 colorful and detailed illustrations of dragons on white squares are visible, scattered about the screen. Viewers can move these about, but clicking on an icon labeled “Dragons” allows them to organize the creatures by geographic origin or by type, enlarge the images, or arrange them in different patterns. A double tap on an illustration elicits details about the animal. Unfortunately, this is not obvious at first and there’s a slight delay in loading. Each entry offers a vivid description of the dragon, an engaging audio sample of it’s roar; a Google map indicating the location of the legend’s origin, if applicable; along with trivia. (“British dragons have been known to inhabit places as diverse as caves, fields, wood, swamps, gullies, moors, corn stacks, water holes, and abbey ruins.”) Viewers can rate the animals if they like, and there are three printable images of each, including a sheet to color.

From the four-eyed Hatuibwari of Melanesia to the Russian Gorynych with three “fire-spitting heads,” the creatures in Dragons! are sure to interest fans of myth, legend, and fantasy.—Mark Richardson, Cedar Mill Community Library, Portland, OR