Monday, April 13, 2015

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

Booklist starred February 15, 2015 (Vol. 111, No. 12)
Grades 3-5. In droll counterpoint to the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, Yep and Ryder offer a similar interspecies matchup from the dragon’s point of view. Miss Drake, a 3,000-year-old dragon, is initially annoyed when Winifred, 10, barges into her hidden lair beneath a San Francisco mansion. It seems that Winnie’s widowed mom has inherited the house from Miss Drake’s most recent and still sharply missed human “pet,” Fluffy (aka Great-Aunt Amelia). The irritating child has been left a key and a charge to take care of the lonely dragon. Being a responsible sort (as well as a shapechanger and a thoroughly modern dragon with a smartphone and a debit card), Miss Drake reluctantly takes Winnie under her wing—or tries to, as the strong-willed child has ideas of her own. Despite their differences, the two make a good team, as they prove in narrowly averting major disaster to the city and its magical community, after a flock of creatures Winnie has drawn in a special sketchbook come to life. In vignettes that open each chapter, illustrator GrandPr√© depicts the diverse creatures, along with glimpses of dragon, child, and various significant items with her customary flair and expertise. Warm humor, magical mishaps, and the main characters’ budding mutual respect and affection combine to give this opener for a planned series a special shine that will draw readers and leave them impatient for sequels.

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