by June Crebbin and Polly Dunbar (Walker Books London 2003)
peace with ourselves-peace with each other
recommended but unavailable - maybe a copy in your local library
Dragons are supposed to be dangerous, that is if you are familiar with the story of 'St George and the Dragon'. Within this simply presented publication lies a story that will enchant you and challenge your beliefs about dragons, even real ones and how to capture them. This surprisingly wonderful story for all ages to enjoy and share together contains many peace-building elements:
As in the story of Herb, a little girl becomes the hero in the unfolding adventure. A little princess is sent away from her family as she must learn skills that will assist her to pass the 'dragon test'. But, in order to pass the test, a captured dragon must be brought back to the castle alive, then afterwards it should be returned unharmed to the wild.
The little princess remains in communication with her parents informing them of all she has learnt and discovered while she is away from them. She also shares her fear of taking her horse, which is even terrified of rabbits, into the hills to find a dragon.
A sudden twist in the story reveals that the little princess has to use all her special skills as she becomes the one who is captured. Ah but she learns the power of storytelling and magically turns her plight around by capturing the dragon's heart.
Challenging many beliefs this amazing little story truly delivers a very special message about the magical transformative power of storytelling.
How does the story end???
The happy ending in this story does involve everyone winning even the dragon.
But also there are many other essential peace-building elements inherent in this wonderful story.
There is no sense or need for violence, killing or death that we so often read in stories involving dragons being captured by heroic knights intent upon saving princesses.
Traditional stereotyping is challenged at many levels.
The princess becomes friends with her dragon and she names him Arthur and begins creating new stories for him that present dragons as heroes.....
and she states:
"All that silly nonsense about eating me is forgotten!"
Critical questions to explore with children
Creative questions to explore with children
© Teaching and Learning for Peace Foundation February 2005