Halloween with the Dragons

For all the young minds that love dragons and Halloween and everything spooky yet fun, Dragon’s Halloween by Dav Pilkey is the ideal book to be read this ghostly season.


Image courtesy: Scholastic

Who doesn’t enjoy spooky Halloweens? So does the endearing blue Dragon in the story, who is more cute than scary. He arrives at the pumpkin patch with plans to celebrate the festival in his own unique manner, but alas! All of the bigger-sized pumpkins have already gone. He ends up laying his hands on six small pumpkins instead.

The story goes on to narrate how he manages to convert those pumpkins into a large, formidably carved jack-o’-lantern, visits a Halloween party wearing a particularly spine-chilling costume (a pumpkin actually lands on his head) and also is terrified of his very own whining and grumbling empty stomach while walking through a pitch-dark forest.

The illustrations add more life and color to the already exciting tale. And for those who love pumpkins, the extremely appetizing pumpkin food drawings are like the icing on the cake.

Ideal for kindergarten and up, the Dragon’s Halloween makes for an exceedingly enjoyable read.

3 Fun Dragon Games & Apps for Kids

I recently came across an article here which talked about why we should be sharing old, traditional stories which involve dragons, fairies and Greek Gods with our kids. That made me think about how the world today has changed from how we knew it back when we were kids; then, it was all about books and stories like Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud, Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey and The Robe of Skulls by Vivian French, among others. But now, it’s more about online video games and mobile apps involving dragons than old folklore and story books.


Dragon” by AnoviJoe is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here are three dragon games and apps which are very popular with kids today.

Dragon City

The primary goal of Dragon City is to rear and raise dragons to turn into a ‘dragon master’ – the player needs to provide food for them to grow, nurture them, ensure they are well suited to their natural habitats and surroundings and also have sparring matches with other dragons. The best way to earn virtual currency – ‘free gems’ – is by participating in surveys within the game, in addition to completing certain other activities that enable you to progress more rapidly through the initial levels. Kids love it because the dragons appear to be cute and friendly creatures. You can also build a magical world in Dragon City through the Dragon City mobile apps on platforms like Android and iOS.

School of Dragons

Best suited for kids aged 10 years and above, the School of Dragons is a popular MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) which is a big hit with both kids and parents alike – kids because of the much-loved game characters based on the DreamWorks’ How to Train Your Dragon movie series; and parents love it since the dragon games are full of underlying educational scientific themes, which help in students learning about various concepts of science, all the while playing with their favorite characters and dragons. The game begins by hatching dragon eggs, acquiring food for them from various sources and eventually preparing them for combat. This one is available on all major mobile platforms as well.

Jurassic Story Dragon Games

Kids who love dragons would definitely wish to keep dinosaurs as pets too! This game is all about raising several dinosaurs in a park (kids will especially adore the cute little baby dragons), breeding and collecting these creatures using a series of hints, working their way through very realistic islands, valleys and volcanoes, looking for rare dragon and dinosaur eggs through simple strategy games and the like. The player earns more coins and jewels as he progresses through the game. Easy, fun and enjoyable – the Jurassic Story Dragon Games are a complete package of sorts.

Wish to add any more to the list?

Dragons in Animated Movies – Mushu & Maleficent

Here are two popular dragon characters from animated movies, which are as different as chalk and cheese.

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Image courtesy: Fanpop

Mushu (Mulan): This dragon is unlike a dragon in size; a lot smaller than you would imagine a dragon to be, but nevertheless, Mushu, Mulan’s protector and closest companion, is a true hero with a big heart. Not very often can you find a dragon who has good intentions plus a great comic sense. Voiced by Eddie Murphy, Mushu is a guardian spirit in his own right. Oh, and he might not look ferocious, but he does have a fire breath.

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Image courtesy: Flickr

Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty): In stark contrast to the amiable Mushu, Maleficent is one of the most powerful villains in the history of Disney. This dragon is the epitome of evilness. She’s vindictive, arrogant, extremely powerful and menacing. Her popular dialogue says it all: ‘You poor simple fools, thinking you could defeat me. ME?! The mistress of all evil?’

Where did Dragons come from?

‘If the sky could dream, it would dream of dragons.’

True that. In addition to the cute little catchable Pokemon monsters and the virtual pets that are becoming increasingly popular day by day, we keep hearing about dragons all around us – in books, in movies, as cartoon characters, as characters in science fiction films and so on. But have you ever stopped to think where the myth of dragons came from in the first place? There are several legends and stories which claim to be correct as far as the origin of dragons are concerned. However, which one among them is true is as good as anybody’s guess.


Dragon” by ArtsyBee is licensed under CC by 2.0

Here are a couple of real-life animals which seem to have triggered the advent of dragons as we know them today.

“Crocodiles are easy. They try to kill and eat you. People are harder. Sometimes they pretend to be your friend first.”          

Steve Irwin (‘The Crocodile Hunter’)

More specifically it’s the Nile crocodile, the second largest reptile existing in the world today (an adult of the species commonly reaches a length of 16-18 feet), which is thought to have acted as a precursor for dragons. What makes it different from other crocodiles? Well, a fascinating characteristic known popularly as the ‘high walk’ – this menacing reptile has the ability to move by raising their trunks above the ground. Can you imagine a mammoth, lurching, scaly creature walking towards you? No doubt it would resemble a dragon of sorts.

“They were like these Gods of the earth who could understand it so well.”

Peter Sohn (Director – ‘The Good Dinosaur’)

Now this one is pretty obvious. According to this report on the StrangeScience website, ‘some creationists claim that medieval dragons were really ruling reptiles of the Mesozoic era that survived into modern times’ – and who are these medieval dragons being talked about? Dinosaurs. What’s more, there was a Chinese historian named Chang Qu who lived back in the 4th century BC; he discovered a dinosaur fossil, eventually misinterpreting and mislabeling it as the remains of dragons.

“The snake will always bite back.”

Jake Roberts (professional wrestler nicknamed ‘Jake the Snake’)

Prolonged, winding bodies and elongated necks with menacing fangs; how can a snake not be a sort of a miniature dragon? They are ready to strike at a moment’s notice, their sting (read: bite) is mostly lethal and the entire experience of encountering one in real life, poisonous or not, is nothing short of petrifying. Now try to visualize a gargantuan fire-emitting snake with legs for appendages – does it not conjure up the image of a dragon in your minds?

No doubt dragons are scary creatures; but then, who can say no to having a cute little monster for a pet, especially if it looks up at you with those puppy-dog eyes like Toothless does to Hiccup?

Dragons and Zombies in Call of Duty


Image courtesy: Cinemablend

The extremely popular first person shooter video game franchise, Call of Duty, has two new and exciting entrants – one is dragons and the other is giant robots which look like zombies. In addition to these and the other usual stuff, there’s an exciting new range of weaponry and enemies. The initial video released shows an interesting looking dragon-themed shield which shoots green fire. Exciting times ahead for Call of Duty fans!

Activision, the publisher and owner of the game, had this to say: ‘Players will face off against a swarm of mechanized zombie infantry and dodge hell-fire from aerial dragon assaults in the ruins of Stalingrad. The mission will also feature new enemies, weapons and gameplay mechanics, including a shield shaped like a dragon that seems to unleash emerald fire.’

Slated for release on July 12 on the PlayStation 4 followed by subsequent releases on the Xbox One and PC versions, this new DLC pack that goes by the name of Descent sure looks like a whole lot of fun. After all, with dragons involved, things couldn’t be anything but, could they?

How to Train Your Dragon themed Birthday Party – Part I – Food

Birthday parties are an intrinsic part of any kid’s childhood. As a little child, I still remember the birthday parties we had at home – while our courtyard would be full of multicolored balloons and streamers (courtesy dad), mum would be entrusted with the all-important task of baking the birthday cake (chocolate-flavored since that was my favorite). The neighborhood kids would come over, we would have a gala time playing fun games like passing-the-parcel, musical chairs or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and wind up the party with a home-cooked meal comprising of pizzas and ice-cream, or something similar.

Cut to the present. Birthday party themes are the rage these days. Kids want an elaborate party that is planned right down to the last detail. So while themes like ‘fairy princess parties’ would mean fairy wings and wands for each girl who attends, twinkling fairy lights to decorate the venue, pink lemonade and pink frosted cupcakes, ‘superhero parties’ are all about flowing Superman capes, eye masks and face paints, accompanied with war cries at regular intervals (but of course).

Along the same lines, movie-themed birthday parties have become popular among kids too. My kids at home are big fans of the How to Train Your Dragon series ever since they watched the first movie of the series. Lately, I’ve been thinking if we could throw a dragon-themed party for my son’s birthday, which is still three months away. Here are a couple of dragon-inspired cake ideas I came across as a result of my research on the same subject.

A Dragon Birthday Cake


It goes without saying that in a How to Train Your Dragon themed birthday party the main attraction has to be the dragon cake. Have a look at this video o know how to go about making a Toothless cake or this Stormfly cake for those kids who are fans of Astrid’s pet dragon. A layer of chocolate buttercream icing over the body of Toothless gives the ideal finish to the Night Fury cake. A sure shot way to bring a whole lot of oohs and aahs from the kids would be to stick the candles to be blown out in Toothless’ mouth – after all, he is the ferocious fire-breathing dragon, isn’t he?

Dragon Muffins or Fiery Cupcakes

Chocolate muffins work best for the Toothless look. The topping can be made of buttercream as before or even ready-made vanilla frosting. Cover the chocolate muffins fresh-out-of-the-oven evenly with the frosting of your choice. A good idea is to cover the frosting with Oreo cookie crumbs to give a scale-like impression of the dragon’s body. Green and yellow food dyes can be used to give color to the eyes on the cupcake. Freeze the dyed frosting for a couple of minutes to be able to easily cut out the eyes and add them onto the cupcake. You can use melted chocolate to mark out the pupils on the green eye. And you’re done!

Similarly, using orange, red or yellow colored frosting instead of the Oreo crumbs topping, one can get the look of cupcakes which are on fire.

To add to the spread, check out this previous post on dragon cocktails (you would need to convert these into mocktails for the kids’ party) and also dragon desserts (though if you manage to come up with a fantastic cake and muffins as mentioned above, these shouldn’t be required as such).

More ideas on the dragon-theme inspired birthday party coming up in the next few posts!

A Miniature Blue Dragon in Real-Life

Yes, you read it right. Though gigantic, fire-breathing dragons may only be mythical monsters not existing on the face of the earth, here is a miniature dragon which exists in real life. And guess what? It’s touted to be one of the most beautiful animals on the planet – and is called a ‘blue dragon’!


Image courtesy: Wikipedia

Here are some fascinating facts about this ‘dragon’ of sorts:

  • In scientific terminology, it is called Glaucus atlanticus.
  • Other common names of the blue dragon include – sea swallow, blue glaucus, blue sea slug, blue angel and blue ocean slug.
  • Fully grown, it’s just more than an inch in length (up to 3 centimeters).
  • It spends its life floating upside down in warm ocean currents, aided by the surface tension of water.
  • It has a powerful venom and a fatal sting which has the ability to take down other larger animals at the drop of a hat.
  • It has a camouflaged body – the blue color blending in with the blue of the waters.

As renowned American ornithologist Margaret Morse Nice very aptly put it: ‘The study of nature is a limitless field, the most fascinating adventure in the world’.

Leave alone dragons; wonder what fascinating organism we’ll come across next?

Craving something sweet? Try these ‘Dragon Desserts’

Thinking of dragons, these are the words that cross my mind (and in this particular order, since we have big-time dragon fans at home) – dragon movies, Toothless, animation, my kids and their dragon games, dragon-themed birthday parties, menacing, vicious, gigantic, threatening, hair-raising, petrifying, beasts, thunderous, awe-inspiring, formidable, mammoth, thundering, desserts… Yes, you read it right. ‘Dragon desserts’ seem to be the flavor of the season, and the latest addition to this list. Menacing creatures they may be, but dragons probably have a sweet tooth as well😉

We’ve talked about refreshing dragon cocktails in a previous post – blushing dragons, happy dragons and the like. We can do without cocktails once in a while, but without desserts? Nah! Hence, since there is always room for dessert come what may, here you go.

Chocolate Dragon Dessert

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Did you know that chocolate is ground from the beans of happiness? I had always presumed so, given its heavenly flavors. This recipe is all about crushing scrumptious chocolate sandwich cookies, adding instant chocolate pudding along with cold milk into it, stirring it all together with whipped dessert topping and leaving the mixture in the freezer for a while. What do you get as a result? A perfect, mouth-watering chocolatey concoction, which becomes all the more inviting provided you top it up with worm-shaped candies and jelly beans as mentioned here.

Dragon Beard Candy

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Similar to the popular cotton candy which is a favorite of kids all around the world, the Dragon Beard Candy (or Dragon Hair Candy as it is sometimes referred to) was first introduced in China. Stuffed with peanuts, coconuts and doused in maltose syrup, this Chinese cotton candy is threaded, chewy, rich and very sweet (everything that kids – and adults like me – would love!). Legend has it that during the Chinese Han dynasty, an imperial court chef was entertaining His Majesty one fine day by performing the steps involved in preparing a new confection; a candy composed from rice flour with a dough-like mixture which had small, thin, sticky strands. For some unknown reason, the Emperor was reminded of a dragon’s beard, and hence the name stuck. So does the candy😛

Dragon Fruit Dessert

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This one is particularly for all those health-conscious dessert lovers out there. Pitaya, more commonly known as the dragon fruit, is beyond doubt one of the most good-looking or I should say exotic looking fruits I have ever come across. A leathery, bright red skin; sweet, kiwi-like flesh; high in fiber content as well as Vitamins B & C – no wonder this miracle of a fruit has such a weighty name! Have a look at this simple recipe involving yogurt, cream, gelatin, vanilla extract, honey and dragon fruit and you have a dessert fit for dragons, not kings!

And now, with Easter right around the corner, no points for guessing what would be the best time to tuck into these desserts!

Dragons in Literature – Smaug & Norbert

My last but one post talked about two popular dragon characters in comic books – Dulcy and Lockheed. Popular as they are, there are some awe-inspiring dragons in the world of literature as well which enjoy unrivalled attention from book lovers (and now movies which are based on the books). Here are two of them.

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Smaug (The Hobbit): This one is Herculean, quick-witted, menacing and hostile all at once, with a distinct appearance – big ears, fur and forbidding canine teeth; one of the primary antagonists in JRR Tolkien’s 1937 novel. When he gets bored with his life, he decides to kick a bunch of dwarves out of their home in the Lonely Mountain (those who have read the story of The Hobbit will obviously know what the Lonely Mountain is all about).

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Norbert (Harry Potter): Norbert is a Norwegian Ridgeback dragon, native to Norway. He came into limelight when he was hatched by half-giant Rubeus Hagrid in his hut at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The endearing baby dragon initially looked like ‘a crumpled black umbrella’ with orange eyes and spiny wings. Eventually as Norbert grew up, she emerged to be much more violent and ferocious, characteristic of female Norwegian Ridgebacks. Hence, the once endearing Norbert was ultimately known as Norberta.

Top 5 Dragon Characters in Gaming

If we begin to talk about our favorite characters in dragon games, the list would probably go on and on. The first dragons in gaming are thought to have emerged back in the year 1979 in a game called Atari Adventure. And ever since then, these giant, mythical, powerful, monster-like reptilian creatures have managed to make themselves one of the most memorable aspects of video games.

Here is a list of the top 5 most popular dragon characters in games which we’ve all grown to love, in the recent past and present.

5. Spyro the Dragon

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A 1998 platform video game for the PlayStation, Spyro the Dragon is the first and most popular game of the series with the young purple dragon – Spyro – playing the protagonist.

Spyro might not be scary or evil but he definitely is one of the most iconic dragons in gaming history. All the gamers will recognize the purple dragon from its platforming days on the original PlayStation. The younger crowd knows him from the toy-based Skylanders series. Spyro shows that you don’t have to kill, maim and destroy to be awesome. His two main attacks – charging with his horns at the enemy and breathing fire – are more than enough to defeat the evil Gnasty Gnorc.

4. Alduin – The World Eater

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Skyrim is full of epic dragons but we have to pick out Alduin – the World Eater as the most badass dragon of the bunch. This dragon with superpowers wishes to re-awaken the race of dragons to destroy the entire world. He’s constantly trash-talking you as you fight him multiple times throughout the game. It sure feels good when you finally manage to defeat him and bring him to his knees for good.

Alduin holds sway as the Nordic God of destruction and is expected to destroy and consume the world in its entirety. Just make sure you’re ready for this dragon to suddenly begin hurling large boulders in the combat zone and periodically breathing fire.

3. Toothless – The Night Fury Dragon

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The very first character to appear in the How to Train Your Dragon movie, Toothless – the Night Fury Dragon is the most endearing yet dangerous little iguana-sized dragon ever. His unrivaled intelligence among the entire dragon clan, terrific speed, uncannily perfect sense of hearing as well as the ability to dive bomb and fire are among his many strengths.

The best part of these dragon games based on the DreamWorks movie? The wonderful bond between Toothless and the protagonist Hiccup, an example of which is when Hiccup says: “Toothless, it’s me. I’m right here, bud.” Cheers to this friendship!

2. Deathwing – Warcraft Series

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Deathwing from the Warcraft Series is one of the most awe-inspiring dragons in gaming. He made his debut in Warcraft II but became a legend after releasing a sweeping cataclysm in World of Warcraft. This humongous creature has re-shaped much of the world’s surface in one of the most popular massively multiplayer online games ever and that’s an extremely big achievement.

Earlier known as Neltharion the Earth-warder, this incarnation of pure evil is known all over the world by titles like ‘The World Breaker’, ‘The Destroyer’ and even ‘Aspect of Death’. One flap of his majestic wings can cause a tsunami to occur and demolish half the world. Beware!

1. Rathalos – The Monster Hunter Dragon

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It can be no co-incidence that this Monster Hunter Dragon’s name – Rathalos – has the word ‘wrath’ in it. Again, the fact that this flying monster is popularly known as ‘The King of the Skies’ in the gaming fraternity reinforces what most of us already know – that it is no mean feat to bring down this more than twenty foot long red and orange dragon with his fiery breath and poisonous talons.

Apart from being expert fliers that whizz past like a bolt of lightning and launch unexpected aerial attacks, Rathalos are also known to set their prey ablaze with flaming projectiles. They can bite, burn, poison, maim and kill. Need we now mention which the most dangerous dragon of the lot is?