Here, There Be Dragons
by James A. Owen
My expectations were fairly low for this first "real" novel by a graphic novelist. But I was pleasantly surprised. The author is a good story-teller, and though he borrows a lot from myths, legends, and classic literature, it's quite inventive. Though the title suggests otherwise, I wouldn't classify this as "dragon lit," just a classic adventure story (with a few excellent pen-and-ink illustrations).
There is some violence (battles), but it's not graphic. No "language" that I recall. The story is compelling and kept me reading to find out what would happen next. The heroes are all adults, so I was surprised to discover this is published under Simon & Schuster's children's division (it seems like children or teens are usually the heroes in books for children these days). It is appropriate for children, and I'm sure my 11-year-old son will love it. However, even though he is quite well-read for a boy his age, I don't think he will "get" the literary allusions, of which there are many. Thanks to the internet, he can easily look them up. (Honestly, I had to look up a few myself.) I will definitely recommend this book for our school library. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. But just in case, I will keep my expectations low. :)
Age recommendation: 10 and up