There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight, by Penny Parker Klostermann



Oh, sure, it’s nice to get a new book in the mail, especially if it’s written by a good friend like Penny Parker Klostermann. Unfortunately, this particular book


…comes with an incorrigible dragon, who proceeded to JUMP off the page and cause a ruckus around here. The boys and I spent the better part of a week trying to wrangle this guy back into the pages…but I’m afraid the dragon won this battle.

It also happens that Penny is challenging us to write dragon-gourmet couplets over on Michelle’s Today’s Little Ditty…so, you want couplets? I GOT COUPLETS! This is our story…

An old dragon came to my family,
here on the coast of Italy,
a dragon as hungry as hungry could be,
who wrought havoc on us and our home by the sea.

The first thing he did was study each nook–
and then began swallowing book after book.


I shooed him outside where he went all berserk.
He swallowed my tools and disrupted my work.

He swallowed my sander; ’twas truly grotesque.
Then he swallowed the whole of my grandmother’s desk.


He singed my hydrangeas, my daisies and quince.
He swallowed hot peppers and didn’t once wince! 


We tried to entice him with pizza and sauce.
But that only made him more snappish and cross. 


He flew down the street, where he swallowed a field.
The people protested, the sunflowers squealed. 


What happened next I am loath to disclose…
he swallowed a boy from his head to his toes!


And then the old dragon swallowed our sea.
I don’t know why he swallowed our sea…


but in the sea was ME!


Thank you to Penny for allowing me to have a little fun with Dragon, deliciously drawn by the gifted Ben Mantle

Here are the actual spreads so you can see them in their original glory. This is a beautiful book, a perfect marriage of text and illustration. I adore it! (Oh, yeah, and the kids like it too!)




Extension Activities

Penny has provided teachers with some engaging activities to use with the book! Check out these ideas…

Feed The Knight To The Dragon: Classroom or party play activity, a type of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Using the images from the book as a guide, draw a dragon on a large piece of poster board. Either draw small knights for students to color or have students draw and color their own knights. If you plan to play the game multiple times, laminate the dragon and the knights. Students will take turns being blindfolded as they tape their knight to the dragon. The student whose knight is closest to the dragon’s mouth wins the game.

turn around now sign

There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Rhyme: Rhyme recognition activity. Since my book is written in rhyme, it is perfect for a rhyming game. Using the images from the book as a guide, draw a dragon on a large piece of poster board. Draw 9 wooden stakes similar to the one holding the “turn around now” sign in the picture. Make stakes long enough to hold 2-4 signs (rhyming words). Place stakes in front of the dragon as if he is eyeing them for a tasty rhyming meal. Make signs from rhyming words to attach to wooden stakes. Start with these words: knight, polite, steed, speed, squire, fire, cook, book, lady, shady, castle, tassel, moat, throat, enough, stuff. Have students take turns taping the signs with matching rhyming words on the stakes. Challenge students to come up with other rhymes that would match those on the stakes.

There Was an Old Dragon on the Loose: Large group tag game, perfect for playground time or physical education class. Using images from the book as a guide, create small cards (approx. the size of playing cards) with these images:

  • 1 dragon card (student with dragon card will be the dragon),
  • 10 of each of knights, steeds, squires, cooks, ladies, castles, moats

Choose one student to be the dragon. The dragon will wear a red scrimmage vest or a red wristband. Distribute other cards among the remaining students. Remind them to keep their card a secret. The instructor should be left with a pile of extra cards. (If you have more cards than students, make sure at least two knight cards are distributed.) Have all students scatter except for the dragon. When instructor calls, “There was an old dragon,” the dragon will begin chasing the other students. When students are tagged, they must hand their card to the dragon. If they have a knight card, they must take the dragon’s card and the red vest/wristband to become the new dragon. After the previous dragon hands over the dragon card and the wristband, they exchange their knight card with a new card from the instructor’s pile of cards. On the other hand, if a tagged student has any card other than the dragon card, they are free to take another card from the instructor after turning their card over to the dragon. They may continue the game with their new card. Periodically, the instructor should collect the cards the dragon has collected so they will have cards to distribute to other students. The game is ongoing since the dragon card changes hands time after time.


About Penny


Penny Parker Klostermann is the author of There Was an Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight. She loves all kinds of books, but especially loves very silly picture books that make her laugh. She has been known to hug her favorite picture books and seriously hopes that someday her books will gain huggable status too. Penny lives in Abilene, TX. Find out more about Penny on her website, or find her on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.


One of you lucky people will be the proud owner of a signed copy of this marvelous book. All you have to do to enter is slay a dragon, save a damsel/young gentleman, build a castle, and live happily ever after. Or you could just leave a comment — it’s really up to you.

Next Friday, August 21, a winner will be drawn and quartered … er, drawn from my barbute and Penny will send your book!

UPDATE, AUGUST 22: And the winner is … JOY ACEY! Congrats!

Gobble your way over to my juicy little universe where Heidi is hosting Poetry Friday.

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Picture book text © Penny Parker Klostermann. All rights reserved. Picture book illustrations © Ben Mantle. All rights reserved. Other blog post content © Renée M. LaTulippe. All rights reserved.