By Ursula Vernon
Ages 8-12 | Grades 3-7

Why Boys Will Read It:

Silly stories about frightening monsters and oozing slime!

What It's About:

Using a hybrid of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon introduces an irresistible set of characters with a penchant for getting themselves into sticky situations. It's perfect for both the classroom and the Wimpy Kid set.

How to Teach It:

The first chapter of Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-Wiener introduces kids to a vocabulary word — "premonition". Have students look up the meaning of the word and then write down what Danny Dragonbreath's premonition is. What did they think was going to happen as Danny goes on an adventure to stop the killer were-wieners from infecting the whole school?

The Story Behind the Dragon: A Q&A with Author/Illustrator Ursula Vernon

Q: What sparked the idea for Dragonbreath?
A: Well, I was thinking about school, and misfits—there are so many stories about kids that don't fit in at school. And at the same time, I was thinking about mythology. At first I had an image of a school for mythological creatures, but it seemed like everybody would be a misfit there. So I started thinking about dragons, and the sort of school where a dragon wouldn't fit in.

Q: Poor Danny is always getting his lunch snatched. Did any bullies ever steal your lunch in grade school?
A: Actually, no. My mother went through a super-health-food phase when I was in grade school, so nobody would have WANTED to steal my lunch. Too many sprouts.

Q: Would you say you're more like Danny Dragonbreath or like Wendell? (Or are you more in the ninja frog camp?)
A: Oh, I'm definitely a Wendell most of the time. "This can't be safe! Are you sure this is legal? I don't like the way that chicken is looking at us!" My enthusiasm for weird facts, however, is pure Danny. I've also have one Danny-like dear friend who has been known to call me up and propose spur-of-the-moment adventures. We once wound up in the bad part of New Orleans, chasing a rare seagull... (Okay, the seagull was my fault.)

Q: Do you know any kung fu moves that could stop ninja frogs in their tracks?
A: There's a form in iaido (which is a very slow, meditative sword art) that's called something like "Chasing the Crazy Tiger." I was never very good at it, but the name was awesome! Unfortunately, it's mostly for meditation, like tai chi, so if ninja frogs ever attack, unless they move verrrrry slooooowly, I'm in trouble.

Series Books


by Ursula Vernon

Click here for a full listing and details about the Dragonbreath titles.