Saint George and the Dragon (book)

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Saint George and the Dragon
CM st george.jpg
Saint George and the Dragon
Author Margaret Hodges
Illustrator Trina Schart Hyman
Country United States
Genre Children's picture book
Publisher Little, Brown
Publication date
August 23, 1984
Pages 32
ISBN 978-0-316-36789-9
OCLC 10046624
398.2 19
LC Class PZ8.1.H69 Sai 1984

Saint George and the Dragon is a book written by Margaret Hodges and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Released by Little, Brown, it was the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1985[1]. The text is adapted from Edmund Spenser's epic poem The Faerie Queene.[2][3]


Saint George and The Dragon is a small book measuring 9 x 0.1 x 10.1 inches, weighing 5.6 ounces, and is 32 pages long.


This story begins with a nameless knight riding around the plain who has never been to battle. Despite this the Queene of Faeries sends him to fight a dragon who has been terrorizing their land. He travels with Una the princess of the land. On his way to the dragon the knight meets an old hermit on top of a hill who explains to him his English heritage and tells him his name is George. George meets the dragon laying down as if it was a hill itself. The dragon sees his sword and prepares for battle. After a hard fought battle George eventually emerges triumphant and slays the dragon. The king, promising Una to whomever slays the dragon, fulfills his promise and marries George and Una. Although all is well in the land George still fights other battles for the Queene of Faeries and through these battles George becomes Saint George.[4]


  • George - Red cross knight hired by the queen of Faeries to defeat the dragon.
  • Queen of Faeries - Sends George to fight the dragon.
  • Una - The Princess of the land who embarks on the mission with George.
  • Hermit - Meets George on top of a hill and informs him that his name is George.
  • Dragon - Monster who makes life hard for the people of the land until it gets slain by George.
  • Queen - Una's mother.
  • King - Promises his daughter Una to whomever slays the dragon.
  • Donkey - Una rides alongside George on top of the donkey
  • Dwarf - Tasked with carrying the food.


The legend which was developed during the crusades is about George a man who lived in 3rd century Rome in the area we call Libya today. George was an Army Commander during the persecution of Christianity under Roman emperor Diocletian. George refused to prosecute Christians and was tortured and eventually beheaded. He became known as Saint George when Christian Roman Emperor Constantine devoted a church to him.[5]


Revelation 12:9 in the Bible describes a great dragon who managed to deceive the whole world and was cast out. The dragon in the story symbolizes the Devil and how the power of Christ is what was necessary to put it away once and for all. In the story, George comes across a town of pagans who have been giving offerings to the dragon. He slays the dragon and the people of the town abandon their paganism and adopt Christianity. The Red Cross on his armor is meant to invoke Biblical symbolism in the mind of the readers.[6]

Critical reception[edit] calls Saint George and the Dragon "the perfect way to introduce a classic tale to a whole new generation of readers."[3] Steve Barancik of "The Best Children's Books" says "St. George appears scratched. The dragon loses some bloody appendages. Thus, make your own decisions about sharing the book with younger children." [7] The Catholic Information Center calls Saint George and the Dragon "truly marvelous and appropriate for girls and boys of all ages." "The Illustrations are worth the admission alone."[8] This adaptation of The Faerie Queen features illustrations that "glitter with color and mesmerizing details," said PW.[9] Kirkus Reviews calls Saint George and the Dragon "a strong narrative, with stagy decor and pictures."[10]


  1. ^ admin (1999-11-30). "Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present". Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC). Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  2. ^ "Saint George and the Dragon". Amazon. Amazon. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Saint George and the Dragon". Goodreads. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  4. ^ Happily Ever Tales: Children's Book Review: Saint George And The Dragon URL accessed 7 Jan 2016.
  5. ^ "Saint George and the Dragon in Iconography". Icon Reader. Wordpress. Retrieved 27 January 2016.
  6. ^ "Revelation 12:9". Bible Study Online. Biblia. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  7. ^ Barancik, Steve. "Margaret Hodges' Saint George and the Dragon Caldecott Medal art by Trina Schart Hyman". Grown Up Guides to the best childrens books because reading matters. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  8. ^ "St. George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges and Trina Schart Hyman". Catholic Information Center. CIC Kids. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  9. ^ "Saint George and the Dragon". Publishers Weekely. Publishers Weekely. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Kirkus Reviews". Kirkus Reviews. Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 3 February 2016.
Preceded by
The Glorious Flight
Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by
The Polar Express