What Is A Book-Dragon, And Should It Replace the Bookworm?

Fellow readers and writers,

We have all heard of a ‘bookworm’. It’s a term for people who are enthusiastic about reading books. I remember, as a child, wandering about the elementary school book fair and noticing a poster of a plump green worm with round spectacles, a book clamped firmly within its tiny hands.

This character is good-natured and amiable enough, but one hardly likes being referred to as a worm. A ‘bookworm’ is often used as a gentle pejorative, rather than a term of endearment. That said, I wouldn’t mind one bit if someone should smile slyly and call me out for being a bookworm. Most likely I’d accept the locution with beaming pride. Yet if I truly had my druthers, I prefer by far a term I’ve heard increasingly from fellow readers. That being, a book-dragon.

A book dragon, in my estimation, is a far worthier and accurate term for avaricious readers. Can you picture it?

A wise old mythological beast of great literary merit, snuggled within its hollowed cave, lording over ancient treasures — stacks upon stacks of glorious books. Perhaps this dragon, like the poster of the worm, wears glasses. Except . . . do you notice how much more dignified the dragon appears wearing them compared to the worm? Perhaps the dragon even blows wisps of smoke from its nostrils when reading something particularly curious or satisfying. Perhaps its scales glow and throb with ember reds, or alien greens; an outward sign of its excited mind.

What can the poor bookworm do except wriggle and writhe in the dirt? Good for cultivation of soil, perhaps, yet he hardly provides for the cultivation of mind. 

Yet the dragon, cozy in its fortress of knowledge, wiles away the hours in joy and contemplation. Utterly dignified, poised and urbane, the book-dragon exudes erudition and benevolent power.

The aforementioned attributes, after all, are often achieved over a life time of excellent reading. For knowledge is power, and books possess knowledge. If a reader should memorize and practice said knowledge, they will become empowered. So long as they remain forever humble and curious, their knowledge may even transform into wisdom.

Reading books is to be highly encouraged. Our friendly ol’ pal, the bookworm, has done his best in encouraging an entire generation to read. For that, the gentle fellow deserves our gratitude.

However, times change and our mascots of intelligence and literacy will come and go. Perhaps it is high time we welcome in the posters, t-shirts, and advertisement material of the book-dragon; being the kindly, wise, intelligent, and powerful representative it may prove to be to the upcoming generation of dedicated readers.

I do not think the bookworm shall resent his displacement. For as poet William Blake wrote, “The cut worm forgives the plow.”

Of course, there’s much to be said about long-lasting, meaningful friendships. Perhaps the bookworm and the book-dragon could read and share their joyous literary discoveries together?

A world of bookworms and book-dragons seems like a delightful one indeed.


Tylor James.