Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon Paperback – Illustrated, 1 Nov 2005
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'A magical read for all new readers, young and old; Herb's story tells the tale of the future' - Sir Paul McCartney --Sir Paul McCartney. 'An excellent book for younger juniors on the themes of peace, tolerance and vegetarianism' - Junior Education --Junior Education. 'Dare to be different, is the message that drives this story of Herb, the dragon who prefers leek and potato soup to the crispy crunch of brave knights. This is a terrific book.' - Independent --Independent
'An excellent book for younger juniors on the themes of peace, tolerance and vegetarianism' - Junior Education --Junior Education
'Dare to be different, is the message that drives this story of Herb, the dragon who prefers leek and potato soup to the crispy crunch of brave knights. This is a terrific book.' - Independent --Independent
About the Author
Jules Bass is the 'Bass' in Rankin/Bass Animated Entertainment, New York, producers of such films as The Hobbit, The Last Unicorn and The Little Drummer Boy. He has worked as a writer, songwriter, producer, and director in a myriad of feature films, television, off-Broadway productions and audio recordings. Although Jules has written extensively for children, Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon is his first children's picture book. Jules lives in New York and France and is a frequent visitor to London. Debbie Harter was born and raised in England, and she currently lives in Penzance, Cornwall. She has participated in all kinds of artistic ventures, creating jewelery, textiles, ceramics, mirrors and candles. Now Debbie works primarily in book illustration, and with her bold and vibrant style, has created many of Barefoot Books' most successful titles, including Herb, the Vegetarian Dragon (1999), The Animal Boogie (2000) and the best-selling Bear series.
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Top Customer Reviews
However, the morality of the tale perpetuates traditional negative stereotypes about vegetarians. Herb is not the strong, positive role model a small child can benefit from. Instead, he features most of the negative features the non-vegetarian world expects from vegetarians. The story revolves around Herb being an outsider and unable to fit in with his friends because he is different. That difference is itself harmful. The vegetarian dragon should be part of the society he is in and seeking to promote change or just getting on with others if he does not want to change the minds of others. Instead, Herb is an outcast, he is different and a bit weird. A typical negative vegetarian stereotype.
The stereotyping does not end there. The meat eaters are all larger than Herb. They are physically able and strong. Herb is frail. He is skinny while the meat eaters are powerful. He has to live in their shadow because he is not really able to stand up for himself. When trouble comes Herb's way, he passively becomes the only dragon to suffer. Every other dragon is wily enough to cope while Herb is captured. Part of the reason he is captured is because he is oblivious to what is going on around him.Read more ›
This book has all the elements which my 4 year old son declares necessary for a good story - knights, dragons and plenty of excitement. But this book is different - there is no battle or victory; the outcome is, instead, tolerance and compromise. The book is a good starting point for a discussion on how it is possible for two points of view to co-exist and on the consequences of discrimination. It also got my son very excited about growing, and eating, vegetables!
Though there are serious messages underlying it, they are not laboured and the story does not suffer from excessive morality - it is very well told, with strong characters (notably Meathook, the leader of the dragons), some great lines (the dragons' song when they are plotting revenge on the knights is a favourite) and sumptuous illustrations. And you can't argue with the philosophy that Herb represents - not only tolerance of those who are different to you but also sticking by your principles in the face of adversity (Meathook offers to free Herb from prison if he will eat some wild boar meat, but Herb declines and trusts to fate instead).
My 4-yr-old got this as a gift and it has rapidly become one of his favourite stories, which he never tires of hearing over and over. And to be honest, I don't tire of reading it to him. It is simply a wonderful story for young children, destined to become a classic children's book.
The story is quite straight forward but still exciting with the threat of the dragons eating the knights and then the fear that Herb is going to be fed to the castle alligators later on. It kept Arthur’s attention throughout, despite being quite wordy in places – I think this is partly down to Debbie Harter’s illustrations. Even when he had to listen to lots of words, there was enough in the pictures to keep him focused and entertained.
There are obvious morals being put across in the story, such as tolerance for others and the topic of vegetarianism is brought up in a way that is easily accessible to children without being judgemental or preachy. (In fact, the whole book is officially approved by The Vegetarian Society!!)
I particularly liked that it didn’t condemn either the meat-eaters or the vegetarians in the story – neither was made to change their dietary habits (beyond an agreement to not eat all the Princesses and Knights – wild boar were still on the menu though!) and the end resolution was formed through respect and agreeing to disagree by finding a compromise. Peace and harmony was found not through anybody being defeated, eaten or bullied into changing but through talking things through and accepting that everybody is different.
A great book that is good to share and a bit different to a lot of other picture books that we have read, Herb, The Vegetarian Dragon, has become a bit of a favourite in our house.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great book. Herb seems the perfect examply of what a vegan should be- kind, friendly and fair.Published 19 months ago by Paul
I like many elements of this book - I thought the story and pictures on the whole were good. I think the reviewer who complains that Herb is portrayed as a 'passive' stereotypical... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Katya
Some of the paragraphs were over-detailed in ways that didn't benefit the story, but the storyline itself was excellent. Different aspects tied together really well at the end. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Sarah Wolfe
Maybe a bit too grown up for my 2 year old when I bought it for him, but he really enjoys it and I am sure will continue to as he understands it more.Published on 27 Jun. 2014 by Beth
My nephew finally has his own copy soni can keep mine at school! He loves it!!!
Thank you very much
I loved this book because the main character is drawn so well and so expressively. It's also great for teaching your child new and interesting words, with a story that will engage... Read morePublished on 23 Feb. 2014 by bee_line