Posted by: Jamie Stamm | March 12, 2008

What we’re reading: “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon”

When it comes to children’s books, I have two serious problems:

1. I can’t stop buying them.

2. I can’t get rid of them.

Thus, our collection of children’s books probably numbers somewhere between 250 and 300. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. It means we’re exposing our kids to a wide variety of literature, and it means that, for the most part, we’re not stuck reading the same five books over and over again.

Since we do have such a vast collection, I’ve decided that each week, I’d like to share one of our favorite children’s books. And I thought what better place to start than with a book that I remember fondly from my childhood that my own kids now enjoy. So, today, I’d like to introduce …


“There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon,” written and illustrated by Jack Kent (Random House, 1975)

“Billy Bixbee was rather surprised when he woke up one morning and found a dragon in his room. It was a small dragon, about the size of a kitten.”

Thus begins a day of uncertainty. For when Billy goes downstairs to tell his mother that there’s a dragon in his room, she emphatically tells him, “There’s no such thing as a dragon!”

This despite the fact that the dragon is still there when Billy returns to his room to dress. And that the dragon, now the size of a dog, follows him to breakfast and even sits on the kitchen table, stealing the pancakes that Billy’s mother has prepared for him. After eating, the dragon, who has grown to the size of Billy’s mother, settles into the hallway for a nap, and he continues to get larger and larger.

Soon, the dragon is filling every room of the house, its head hanging out the front door and its tail hanging out the back. And when he awakens from his nap hungry, the dragon takes off after a bread truck, the house coming with him “like the shell on a snail.”

When Mr. Bixbee arrives home for lunch, he’s surprised to find that his house is gone. He sets off in search of it, and finally finds his home, on the back of a dragon, with Billy and Mrs. Bixbee waving from an upstairs window.

Mr. Bixbee asks what happened.

“It was the dragon,” said Billy.

“There’s no such thing …” Mother started to say.

“There IS a dragon!” Billy insisted. “A very BIG dragon!” And Billy patted the dragon on the head.

Immediately, the dragon begins to shrink, soon arriving back at the size of a kitten. Turns out, all he wanted was to be noticed.

When I ordered this book from, I thought it would be perfect for my 5-year-old daughter, Cera, who is fascinated with dragons. While she loves the book, it is my 2-year-old son, Anthony, who requests it every night. But I really don’t care who’s asking for it, as long as I get to read it. “There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon” is laugh-out-loud funny, and the illustrations are adorable – if I found a dragon that cute in my bedroom one morning, I would definitely let it stay.


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