Before he dreamt of hobbits, made-up languages, or the “One Ring to rule them all,” J.R.R. Tolkien was a young boy enchanted by dragons. John Ronald’s Dragons (Roaring Brook, $18.99) soared through the skies, belched flame, and hoarded treasures. Author Caroline McAlister locates Tolkien’s fascination with the mythical beasts in his early childhood and traces its development throughout his life until it bore fruit in The Hobbit’s very own dragon, Smaug. Eliza Wheeler’s illustrations honor John Ronald’s first love with a hidden dragon-like character on every page. Ages 6-9.