Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Dragon, illustrations, ending
Cons: Meanders a bit though the story
The Bottom Line:
A kindly dragon
And meandering story
Brilliant twist ending
Heads Might Roll
When my family discovered the books of Bill Peet, we got them all from the library and enjoyed them. I particularly remember enjoying How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head when we first read it. (Okay, so these were technically for my younger brother. Don’t tell anyone.) It’s not quite as good rereading it now as an adult.
Dragons have a nasty reputation, but Droofus is a nice one. After being separated from his family as a baby, he becomes a vegetarian and friend to the creatures of the forest. But when the king spies him out flying one day, he decides he must have Droofus’ head on his castle wall. Is Droofus in danger?
I actually do think this book will still entertain kids. Why do I say that? Because the main character is a dragon. I mean, how can you go wrong with that? It’s a character guaranteed to make kids want to sit down and read the story.
Plus you’ve got Bill Peet’s always colorful and fun illustrations. His books are worth it for the art alone.
However, I found as an adult that the story drags a little more than I remembered. Everything does come into play eventually, but it takes a while to get where it is going. Kids will still want you to turn the page to find out what happens next to Droofus, but the suspense is mild until the climax.
I must say, though, the twist at the end is still brilliant and holds up well even when you know what is coming. You’ll probably have to explain the multiple meanings of losing your head to kids since this doesn’t go for the literal ending. Frankly, I still love that part of it.
So while not one of Bill Peet’s better books, How Droofus the Dragon Lost His Head does still entertain. Your kids will enjoy it even if you find it a tad slow.