Plot: High upon the rooftops in cities throughout the world live strange creatures known as Dragouilles. They look like an odd combination of dragons and potatoes but don’t be fooled! This book will teach you all you need to know about them and their habits.
This was another homework assignment given to me by the foster kids that I’m working with this winter. They were quite taken with these strange gargoyle-like creatures. I’ve also heard the series much praised by its young readers (the fourth volume recently won the Forest of Reading’s Prix Tamarack) and I had the pleasure of hearing Maxim Cyr talk about his work on the series. So I was quite eager to dig in… and was a little disappointed in the end. This is not because the book is bad or uninteresting; but I do think that I built it up a bit too much in my mind.
Like Billy Stuart, Les Dragouilles combines text, comics and games (guessing games, experiments and more), a popular format among the new generation of readers. This series is a lot lighter on narrative than Bergeron’s but it compensates for this with brief informative passages on topics as diverse as the world’s most expense perfume and the history of graffiti. On the whole, it is presented more as an anthropological study of these odd creatures. It is a fun, quick read but I must confess that while intellectually I understand the appeal of these books, to young boys in particular, I never felt particularly invested and most of the jokes fell flat. Perhaps, now that the species has been established, the following volumes will have a bit more meat to them.
Cyr and Gottot have been quite prolific in the past two years. There are already 10 volumes available in the series, a fact that I’m sure will please many kids that I know.