The DragonSlayer

Informational Resources:

Author & Illustrator Information:

Jaime Hernandez biography:

Activities & Resources:


Educators guide (TOON Graphics website):

Alma Flor Ada website:

Isabel Campoy website:


Find additional examples of folklore from Mexico:

A collection of folktales and fairytales:

Mayan, Aztec, and Incan Civilization:

Many Latin American folktales are “crossroads of many cultures,” including Catholic, Jewish, Moorish, and European influences. The stories can be traced back to the Mayan, Inca, and Aztec ancient civilizations. Find out more about the history of these civilizations:


The Dragon Slayer offers a starving old woman a tortilla to eat. Find out the history of the tortilla and how to make one:

Learn how to make a tortilla:


In the story “Tup and the Ants,” Tup makes a deal with colony of ants to do his work. Find out how ants look, eat, and live:


Find out how to read comics with kids (TOON Graphics website):–dad.html

Find out why comics should be used in the classroom (TOON Graphics website):


According to F. Isabel Campoy, storytellers will add to traditional folktales to make the tale their own. The storytellers “use stock phrases to capture their audience’s attention when they start and end their stories” (p 39). Using the stock phrases provided by Campoy on page 39 of the book, create your own folktale.

Gather sticks and decorate with glitter, paint, thread or yarn, and found objects to create a magical wand similar to the Dragon Slayer’s wand.

MakerSpace Activities:

Don֮a Pepa saved Ratón Pérez from the pot of soup. What if Don֮a Pepa wasn’t around? Brainstorm and design a way to save Ratón Pérez from the pot of soup.

Create a stopmotion video of one of the folktales. The video tutorial will walk you through creating a stop motion video using Google Slides (8:00):

Use an interactive presentation app like Emaze, Canva, Buncee, or Flip Grid to create a gallery of the images in the back of the book. Students can take a digital tour of the gallery learning about the customs and traditions connected to different folktales.

Using the characters from the TOON Graphic comics and novels, students can create their own digital comic book (Toon Books website):

Discussion Questions:

Does your family tell stories passed down from their relatives and ancestors? What have you learned about your family’s history from listening to your family’s stories?

Why do you think folktales continue to be told or passed down orally through generations?

What are some of your favorite fairy tales? What do you like most about fairytales?

Even though a folktale changes over the years, the theme is usually the same. Why do you think the moral of the story is able to remain after multiple retellings of the story?

“The Dragon Slayer”

Why do you think the two oldest daughters tricked their father into sending the youngest daughter away? Why didn’t she stand up for herself?

The reader doesn’t know much about the Girl at the beginning of the story. What important details do we learn about the Girl when she is approached by the Old Woman?

Why did the Old Woman give the Girl the magic wand? Why do you think the Old Woman decided that the girl would be worthy of such a powerful gift?

Once the Girl began working at the Palace, she quickly fell in love with the Prince. Why did neither the Girl or the Prince reveal how they felt about each other?

Why is the Girl willing to risk her life to defeat the dragon with the seven heads?

The Girl decides to cut out the seven tongues of the dragon with the seven heads. Why does she feel it is important to have the tongues of the dragon? How does cutting the tongues out help the Girl prove her achievement?

The Girl wishes to marry the Prince, but the King won’t allow it. Why is the King against the marriage?

How does the magic wand help the Girl throughout her adventure?

The Girl saves the Prince and they rule over their own Kingdom. Why do you think the Girl will be a good queen?

“Martina Martinez and Perez the Mouse”

When Martina is cleaning the house she comes across a silver coin. She wants to buy something nice, but struggles to decide what to buy. Why does Martina think long and hard about what she will buy?

Martina buys a beautiful red ribbon and ties the ribbon in her hair. Once the ribbon is in her hair, suitors begin to show up. Why does Martina ask Gato, Perro, and Gallo how they would sing to their children? Why does she choose Raton Perez?

The two little birds cut off their beak, the mourning dove cut off her tail, the fountain’s water stopped flowing, and a young girl broke her vase. Why did they react in such extreme ways?  Why didn’t they try to help Raton Perez out of the bowl of soup?

“Tup and the Ants”

Three brothers married the three daughters of a farmer. The farmer and his wife were happy for the first two marriages, but were not happy when Tup, the youngest brother, married their youngest daughter. Why were they unhappy with the marriage? What did they not like about Tup?

From the start of the story Tup is described as lazy and an “idle husband.” How does he prove his family wrong?

Why does the Queen Ant agree to help Tup? Why are they able to help him do such physical labor?

Folktales contain “both moral lessons and practical lessons” (p 39). What are some practical lessons you learned from the three stories?

Book Talk Teasers:

Watch The Dragon Slayer book trailer. What scene caught your attention and created interest in reading the book?

Read The Dragon Slayer readers theater script. Does this folktale remind you of another fairy tale with which you are familiar?

Read Alikes:

Graphic Novels:

Kibuishi, Kazu. Amulet. After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. (NoveList Plus)

O’Neill, Katie. The Tea Dragon Society. When Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, discovers a lost tea dragon at the marketplace, she learns about the dying art form from Hesekiel and Erik. (NoveList Plus)

Pearce, Phillipa. Tom’s Midnight Garden: a graphic adaptation. When Tom’s brother gets sick, Tom’s shipped off to spend what he’s sure will be a boring summer with his aunt and uncle in the country. But then Tom hears the old grandfather clock in the hall chime thirteen times, and he’s transported back to an old garden where he meets a mysterious girl named Hatty. (NoveList Plus)

Smith, Jeff. Bone. Three modern cartoon cousins get lost in a pre-technological valley, spending a year there making new friends and out-running dangerous enemies, in a compilation of the creator’s Bone series all in one binding. (NoveList Plus)

Fairy Tales:

Hatke, Ben. Mighty Jack. Prompted by his sister, Jack trades his mom’s car for a box of mysterious seeds, but soon their normal garden turns into a wild jungle filled with magical creatures and, one night, changes into a dragon. (NoveList Plus)

Ostertag, Molly. The Witch Boy. In thirteen-year-old Aster’s family, all the girls are raised to be witches, while boys grow up to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. Unfortunately for Aster, he still hasn’t shifted . . . and he’s still fascinated by witchery, no matter how forbidden it might be. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help — as a witch. (NoveList Plus)

A Hero’s Journey:

McCoola, Marika. Baba Yaga’s Assistant. When her father announces that he is remarrying, Masha decides to leave home and become Baba Yaga’s assistant. But to earn her place at the witch’s house, she must first pass a series of tests. (NoveList Plus)

Siegel, Mark. The Cobalt Prince. Oona Lee surprised everyone–including herself–when she lit the first beacon to save the Five Worlds from extinction. Can she light the other four beacons in time? (NoveList Plus)

Yang, Gene Luen. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Following the war, Aang travels to a colony in the center of Earth Nation where friction between neighbors threatens the world’s new peace, pitting the Avatar against one of his closest friends. (NoveList Plus)

Latin American Folktales:

Ada, Alma Flor. Tales our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic folktale collection. Presents the authors’ retellings of more than ten traditional tales accompanied by information on origins and different versions. (NoveList Plus)

Gerson, Mary-Joan. Fiesta Feminina: celebrating women in Mexican folktales. A collection of folktales from various cultures in Mexico, all focusing on the important roles of women, such as Rosha, a young girl who rescues the sun; the goddess Tangu Yuh; Kesne, a Zapotec princess; and the Virgin Mary. (NoveList Plus)


Cline-Ransome, Lesa.  Illustrated by James E. Ransome.  Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams. A Paula Wiseman Book, an imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2018.

Horn Book

Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams

by Lesa Cline-Ransome; illus. by James E. Ransome

Primary, Intermediate Wiseman/Simon 48 pp.

7/18 978-1-4814-7684-3 $17.99

e-book ed. 978-1-4814-7685-0 $10.99

Wife-and-husband team Cline-Ransome and Ransome celebrate tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams, focusing on their formative childhoods and the way their preparation and talent fundamentally changed the game. Cline-Ransome’s chronological account begins with the sisters’ pre-dawn practices in Compton, California, sweeping the public courts of garbage and broken glass before applying themselves with phenomenal dedication (“By the time Venus was four she could hit five hundred tennis balls at every practice”; “When gunshots rang out in the distance, [their father] Richard reminded them, ‘Never mind the noise. Just play’”). As they grow and improve, moving from their family’s private coaching to the professional tour, they become the dominant force in women’s tennis and find themselves playing against each other with increasing frequency. Ransome’s detailed collages reflect this shift. Early illustrations show the girls close together, dressed in like colors with similar hairstyles. As the story progresses, the sisters are positioned apart, wearing different colors, until as young women they find themselves on opposite sides of the net, their separation emphasized by the book’s low, wide trim size. The final spread, showing them on the same side of the net, holding hands, after Serena bested Venus in the 2002 French Open, communicates the sisters’ ultimate devotion to each other. Thorough back matter—including an afterword, source notes, a selected bibliography, and further reading—is appended. THOM BARTHELMESS       Reprinted from the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine with permission from The Horn Book, Inc.,


Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams. (Starred) Cline-Ransome, Lesa (author). Illustrated by James E. Ransome.

July 2018. 48p. Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, $17.99 (9781481476843); Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman, e-book, $17.99 (9781481476850). Grades 1-4. 796.3420922. REVIEW. First published June 1, 2018 (Booklist).

The acclaimed Ransome husband-and-wife duo move from the historical (Before She Was Harriet, 2017) to the present-day with this story of African American sisters Venus and Serena Williams, who changed the game of tennis with their prowess and determination. The picture-book biography begins with their early years, when they would get up before dawn to clear garbage off the tennis courts near their home and practice the game six days a week under the tutelage of their father. Without formal training, the two devised methods to increase their natural talent, such as incorporating ballet for flexibility, running to increase their speed, and throwing footballs to help their serves become more powerful. Clear writing, an inviting layout, collage-style pictures, and quotes from the sisters and their parents make this nonfiction format accessible for emerging and more confident readers. Cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints blend seamlessly to create beautifully bold, colorful illustrations in tribute to two amazing athletes. A detailed afterword lists their many accomplishments, including U.S. Open and Wimbledon victories as well as their Olympic gold medals. Source notes, a bibliography, and further reading enhance an informative book that will appeal to children and sports fans of all ages. — Maryann Owen

Used with the permission of Booklist

School Library Journal (June 1, 2018) 

Gr 3-5-This lovingly crafted picture book biography centers on the incredible bond between Venus and Serena Williams and one of their signature accomplishments: being the first two sisters in tennis history to rank numbers one and two in the world. Beginning with their early childhood, Cline-Ransome highlights the siblings’ hard work and dedication to each other and their goals. From pre-dawn practices as preschoolers in the Compton neighborhood of Los Angeles, to Serena’s first victory over Venus in the 2002 French Open nearly 20 years later, this story of their single-minded focus and unwavering family support will inspire readers to achieve greatness regardless of the odds. The collage artwork, done in cut paper, pencil, and acrylic paints, is expansive and filled with vibrant colors and emotions. Fans of tennis will be in for a treat as Cline-Ransome recounts the Williams’s matches with thrilling detail. This powerful narrative will most appeal to independent readers. Back matter includes an afterword that chronicles the duo’s accomplishments and challenges from 2002 to 2011. VERDICT An important selection for biography and sports collections.-Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, Oak Bluffs, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.   Reprinted with permission from School Library Journal ©2018