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Book Club Kits: Dragonbreath

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

Cover Image

Ursula Vernon


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Book Summary

Danny Dragonbreath is the only mythical creature at  a school filled with reptiles and amphibians. He can’t breathe fire like a normal dragon. The school bully keeps stealing his lunch. And now Danny has to rewrite his report about the ocean and use, ahem, actual research. His loyal but nerdy best friend Wendell suggests the library. But Danny has a way better plan.

Discussion Questions

• Even though he practices all of the time, Danny cannot breathe fire. Was there ever something that everyone else could do that you couldn’t? How did it make you feel? How did other people treat you?

• Big Eddy is always picking on Danny and Wendell. Do you think it is smart of Danny to give Big Eddy his lunch? Do you think how Wendell responds is smart? If you were in Danny or Wendell’s shoes what would you have done?

• Danny waits until the last minute to finish his homework. Instead of doing a report on the ocean, he makes up a fictitious animal. How does not doing his homework on time lead to near disaster?

• What makes Danny and Wendell such good friends? Would you be friends with Danny? Would you be friends with Wendell?

• Danny teases Wendell for liking Suki. Was there ever a time when you were scared your best friend was going to replace you with someone else? How did you handle it?

• Danny’s love for comic books and kung fu movies pays off for him big time. Was there ever a time when something you liked to do helped you out? How could playing sports help you out of a jam? How could playing musical instruments help? What about reading books?

• Ninja frogs mistake Suki for their queen. Would you want to be a ninja queen or king? Would there be anything exciting about being a queen or king? Has anyone ever mistaken you for someone else, or called you the wrong name? How did it make you feel? What did you do about it?

• When Danny needs help with his “ninja problem,” he goes to his great-grandfather for help. Talk about a time when you needed a family member’s help with something. Why is it sometimes good to get an older person’s perspective on things?

• After Danny has a dream about “being in a dark forest, and something was wrong,” he feels like something strange is about to happen to him and Wendell. He has a premonition. Was there ever a time when you had a premonition about something? What did you do about it? Did your premonition turn out to be right?

• Wendell’s mother buys him things like a shower curtain with the solar system on it and periodic-table bandages. Was there ever a time when a family member embarrassed you? What did you do? How did you feel?

• After Danny finds out that he doesn’t have any relatives in Transylvania who could help him, he has to come up with a back-up plan. Was there ever a time when your first attempt at doing something did not work out? What did you do?

• In order to defeat the rabid hot dogs, Danny and Wendell have to seek out help from Danny’s old lunch—mutant potato salad. Was there ever a time when you were paired up with someone you didn’t know, like, or were afraid of? How did you handle it? Did working with that person change your opinion of him or her?

• Danny and Wendell rescue a bat from the pool filter. Was it safe for them to take the bat home? Was there anything else they could have done to help the bat instead? Have you ever helped an animal in need?

• Danny does not panic when he is carried off deep into the jungle by Camazotz. He stays calm and tries to think of an escape plan. Talk about a time when you were scared. How did you feel? What did you do? How did you overcome your fear?

• Camazotz’s cave is filled with gold. If Danny, Wendell, and Steve had taken the gold, what should they have done with it? If you found a cave filled with gold, what would you spend it on? Would you keep it all for yourself, or share it?

• Steve spends his life in the jungle studying and trying to help bats. What are some things you could do to help endangered animals? If you could be an animal researcher like Steve, what endangered animal would you like to help? If you lived in the remote jungle, what would be some obstacles you’d have to overcome?

About Ursula Vernon and Q&A


Ursula Vernon ( is the author and illustrator of the Dragonbreath series, as well as Nurk: The Strange, Surprising Adventures of a (Somewhat) Brave Shrew. The daughter of an artist, she attempted to rebel and become a scientist, but in the end couldn’t fight her destiny. She lives in Pittsboro, NC, where she writes, draws, and creates oddities.

Q&A with Ursula Vernon!

Q: What sparked the idea for Danny Dragonbreath?

A: Well, I was thinking about school, and misfits. There’s 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: 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.

Q: Was there ever something (like breathing fire) that you ever desperately wanted to do but couldn’t?

A: I have never in my life managed to turn a cartwheel. Doesn’t really have the squid-stopping power of breathing fire, though...