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"Danny was willing to defy death for Wendell, fight off hordes of savage enemies, navigate landscapes of health food and horror. . . But going to the library was something else." –Nightmare of the Iguana
Dragonbreath: Nightmare of the Iguana
by Ursula Vernon
Horrifying dream monsters are keeping Wendell awake. In an attempt to help his friend, Danny Dragonbreath and Suki the Salamander go in search of advice from Danny’s wise mythological great-grandfather Dragonbreath. Danny and Suki must defeat the Dream Wasp before it can lay eggs in Wendell’s dreams, which would cause Wendell to go crazy. So Danny, Suki, and a sleepy dream eater enter the “dark horrors of Wendell’s subconscious.” They climb mounds of healthy food, run from a school bully, and search a massive library before they find the Dream Wasp and smash her eggs.
Nightmare of the Iguana is hilarious, action-packed, fun. Wendell’s dreams are the frightening things that kids can relate to—not doing well on a pop quiz, a mother who is a health food nut, and a girl finding out that he likes her. Danny’s wise mythological great-grandfather Dragonbreath’s hearing problems lead to humorous statements. As Danny and Suki enter Wendell’s subconscious and fight dream monsters, the battles involve more running than actual fighting.
Green and black illustrations add to the allure of the book. Drawing with dialogue balloons helps break up the text and keep the action moving. Dragonbreath shows the value of friendship and will get even the most reluctant readers engaged in the story. Although Night of the Iguana is the eighth book of the Dragonbreath series, the story can be enjoyed as a stand-alone story.
- Suki kisses Wendell on the cheek.
- Monsters chase Danny and Suki, yelling “We will crush their bones and then give them pop quizzes!” They hide in the library, and when a monster finds them, “the monster with the battle-ax swung and hit the weakened bookcase. It collapsed slowly. Books slid off in a waterfall of paper.” They find a staircase in a book and are able to escape unharmed.
- The dream eater (baku) fights the Dream Wasp. “The floor shook as the two collided. The Wasp slashed with its bladed forearms, but the baku’s hide was thick and knobby . . .” Danny and Suki began throwing it’s eggs at the Wasp. The battle is described over a chapter and with the dream eater killing the Wasp.
Drugs and Alcohol
- When being chased by monsters, Suki says, “Oh, crud.”
- While squishing the Wasp’s eggs, Suki says, “Oh god, this is disgusting.”
- Danny and Suki enter Wendell’s dream world and see the “dark horrors of Wendell’s subconscious.”
- Dream monsters enter Wendell’s dreams. The main one, the Dream Wasp, lays its eggs in Wendell’s mind. “The Dream Wasp was the size of a house . . . Its stinger was as long as a car and tapered to a wickedly sharp point. Its jaws were serrated and meshed together like a bone zipper. Its forelegs looked like steak knives, assuming that by ‘steak’ you meant ‘the entire cow.’”
- Danny’s great-grandfather is helping Suki. “He’s teaching me meditative techniques. To help with being a ninja in a past life.”