cover image Discovery of Dragons

Discovery of Dragons

Graeme Base. ABRAMS, $18.95 (36pp) ISBN 978-0-8109-3237-1

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Base (Animalia) poses as the Victorian scientist Rowland W. Greasebeam, B.Sc. (Serpentology), F.R.Aud., to serve up this compendium of dragon lore and sheer inventive nonsense. Expanding on a dozen illustrations from his calendar Dragons Draaks & Beasties, Base fabricates a trio of correspondents--a Viking, a Chinese silk trader and a Prussian explorer--whose letters chronicle their discoveries of dragons in various continents. The resulting web of yarns that Base spins is nothing short of hilarious (""Hope the looting and pillaging went well,"" writes Bjorn of Bromme in a letter to Olaf the Grim, for instance). Illustrations showcase the kind of intricate detail for which Base is so well known, and he bolsters his dragon art with a deadpan running commentary set in a border at the bottom of each page. ""Dagbar defunctus est"" notes one caption in a fit of understatement, as the accompanying cartoon depicts the demise of one of Bjorn's companions. There's much to enjoy here, and much to propel readers to seek out every last drop of humor. All ages. (Nov.)