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The Feast of Lights is fast approaching. Time to burnish the menorah, limber up your dreidel-spinning fingers, and teach the kittens about candle safety.

If you’re seeking something for that special Dragon lover in your life to plant beneath the Chanukah bush – and who doesn’t need a little something dragonish for the holidays – check out The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook  and Dragons for Beginners.

The Dragon Keeper's Handbook...Dragons for Beginners

The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook…Dragons for Beginners

Here’s a taste from Dragons for Beginners:

Three hundred thousand years ago, when Homo sapi­ens walked out of Africa, Dragons were everywhere. Around every river bend, on every mountain top, they basked at ease, the reigning predators in a wild and woolly world. Our ancient ancestors cast their eyes to the heavens and were wowed by the sheer otherworldly grandeur wing­ing across the horizon. To primitive minds Dragons were nothing short of divine. They were the roar of sea and the blinding flash of lightning; gentle life-giving rains and inex­plicable death in the night. They were the terrible danger lurking beyond the glow of village fires and the benevolent warmth of the fires themselves. Bigger, fiercer, more incred­ible than any other creature real or imagined, no beings—including man—have roamed so far or evolved so well. From the dawn of time, these were Dragons. They still are.

Don’t be so surprised.

Earth has managed to spawn a stellar array of life. From microscopic viruses to macroscopic pteradons, from bear cats to short-nosed bats, blue skimmers to blue whales, sporting fur, feathers, skin, and scales. The planet’s bio-diversity is truly spectacular. Just walk through the woods with ears pricked and eyes wide and you will find creatures, great and small, extraordinary enough to fill even the most jaded city slicker with awe. Spanning the taxonomic contin­uum, the common and the rare are there for the observing.

Harder to see are the mystical and the fabulous, the beings we’ve come to consider truly otherworldly. Griffins, unicorns, dryads, phoenix—their numbers are legion, their names and forms as varied as local habitat and custom allow. Over time many have gone the way of the moa and mammoth, a way currently slick with whale oil and strewn with tiger pelts and lyrebird quills. Those mystical creatures that remain slip in and out of the shadows, struggling to survive as environs and belief grow increasingly short in supply. They dance along the margins of medieval manuscripts and through the peripheral vision of cryptozoologists, mythologists, and literary fanta­sists. Thanks to a dwindling familiarity with the arcane, many incredible creatures pass without so much as a second look from humans who wouldn’t know a kitsune (fox spirit) from a chipmunk. They wear the cloak of modest anonymity that allows them to avoid the dangerously acquisitive and fearfully ignorant. To linger among us a little longer.

And then there are Dragons.

Magnificent, preternatural, take-your-breath-away Dragons.

Soaring on the four winds, surfing the seven seas, Drag­ons have never indulged in anonymity. Tossing all notions of “local” onto the dung heap, they went global in a big way. They carved out niches in every ecosystem: burning deserts and glacial peaks, verdant tropics and scrub-grassed plains. They lashed the clouds with Dragonfire and bent low the trees with Dragonsong.

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Both are available straight from Llewellyn Worldwide (along with a slew of other great gifts for the mystically inclined), or at Amazon (both in paperback and Kindle), Barnes & Noble (paperback and Nook), and your favorite neighborhood bookstore.

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