The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon

A Children's Book with Drama, Romance, and a Lying Dragon

Children - Social Issues
31 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon is a children’s picture book that highlights fake news and the issues surrounding misinformation. Author Brandon Tullos takes us on a journey to a quiet town with very nice people who are tricked by a dragon. They believe the dragon’s lies. With the invention of computers and the Internet, anyone can upload a blog or post something on social media—without citing a credible source. This story accentuates the problem of believing everything you see or hear and reminds us to get the facts. We all need to make choices in life based on informed sources and ask ourselves “is it true?” This full-color book highlights one of the problems with social media and reminds us to make decisions after we have all the facts. Teachers, parents, and children will enjoy reading this story with the subtle social messages weaved into it.

The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon contains simple but effective artwork by illustrators Vladimir Arabadzhi and Claudia Emanuele. The full-color illustrations contain emotion and depict life in the farming community. The illustrations help to draw children into the book and the story will keep them engaged. Author Brandon Tullos has written a wonderful story of a dressed up dragon that spreads lies. And the townspeople believe him. The story evokes discussion and poses the question for children and adults: “Would you believe the dragon?” How come they can’t see through the disguise? How come they believe him without evidence? Aren’t people innocent until proven guilty? Public libraries, school libraries, and homes will want this important book with its subtle social message.

Jack Magnus

The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon: A Children's Book with Drama, Romance, and a Lying Dragon is a children’s social issues picture book written by Brandon Tullos and illustrated by Vladimir Arabadzhi. Once upon a time, there was a small town filled with happy inhabitants. They all lived and worked together, and generosity was in their nature, one and all. Everything changed for the worse, however, when a dragon happened to fly by the town and realized he could use the townspeople to provide him with bounteous food. His first stop was the farmer’s house. The farmer was eaten by him and became his first victim. Then the dragon disguised himself as the farmer and began to spread his lies and deceit.

Caregivers will recognize much of what happens in this book with current events in real life, where lies and truth have become inextricably tangled, and citizens are manipulated into believing that the “other” is to blame for their misfortunes. Saddened and changed villagers agree that locking up the migrant workers who toiled in the farmer’s fields is the only solution, and it seems that there’s no chance for recovery in this little town where everyone had been so happy before. Still, there’s certainly a note of optimism in this cautionary tale as the dragon is eventually found out for being what he really is, and life does have a chance to resume. While there are definite parallels between the village and this country, kids and caregivers alike will see the universality of the fable and understand that truth is, in the end, much more powerful than the most seductive of lies. Author Brandon Tullos explains the simple way by which all the disruption and discord could have been avoided; a lesson that underlies the entire story.

Illustrator Vladimir Arabadzhi’s artwork is stunning. Panels that look simple when considered superficially take on depth, structure, and meaning when examined carefully. Each panel works perfectly with the story while also enhancing and expounding upon the reality of the town and its inhabitants. There’s the marvelous image of the town surrounded by sun-gilded trees and mountains, as viewed by the dragon as he flies over it. The preceding image shows the town at its finest: people walking, interacting while two ships are sitting in the harbor: ships from different towns and cultures. This image is well worth spending some time with and discussing when reading aloud to a child. The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon is a parable about our modern times, but it’s also much much more. It’s most highly recommended.

Shrabastee Chakraborty

The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon is a short, illustrated children's book written by Brandon Tullos. One day, an opportunistic dragon arrived in a town. The townspeople used to welcome everyone with open arms until the dragon sowed the seed of hatred in them with his deceiving appearance and carefully constructed lies. Under his powerful influence, people started to view newcomers as their enemies who deprived them of their resources. Goaded by the dragon, the townspeople even imprisoned the foreigners. With discord spreading far and wide, only the truth about the dragon’s identity can change the course of events. But who dares to expose the dragon? How long will he reign over the unsuspecting people?

Brandon Tullos represents a concerning social issue, the unfair treatment of the immigrant population in the USA, in the form of children’s literature. As an educational book, The Dashingly Deceitful Dragon will encourage young readers to be more compassionate to fellow humans. Tullos uses simple words, short and loosely rhyming sentences, and colorful illustrations to suit the target audience. The entire art team deserves hearty applause for making the book so attractive. However, the inherent message goes much deeper. As a satire, the book highlights the plights of immigrants in the USA, especially during recent times. The writing is indicative of how strongly Tullos feels about this issue. Depending on their ages, readers will be able to glean different meanings from this book. While children may consider this a fantasy story, older readers will surely understand the socio-political aspect.