Long before Smaug, there were fairy tale princesses, locked up in dragon proof towers. There were princes to save them, and then dragons were always mean and scary.
E. Nesbitt’s versions of these tales were fun to read. They were the same prince and princess and dragon motifs, but the stories were not quite so predictable. First and foremost, the princess was not always helpless. Often she was smart, and while she may not beat the dragon all on her own…she does help quite a bit. Also, the dragon is not always completely bad–more of a misunderstood creature. Sure, it has an appetite for whole towns, but it’s a HUGE animal! I can see how that could make it feared among humans, but in one of the stories it just thinks that is normal behavior. But, it is a loving mother, and also extremely gullible.
Overall these were very sweet stories that any elementary aged kid would like. I could imagine reading these as bedtime stories to any little adventurer.