When I read this short easy to read novel with illustrations that are designed for maximum fun I thought, great, a book that reluctant readers or slow readers at primary level can have fun devouring, especially boys.
Kyle Mewburn provides a written text that is perfect for fun. Ogres that fart, shape changers that are human and dragons at the same time, villains that deserve to be beaten and a hero that doesn’t win all t6he time but impresses with his bravery and fair play.
Merek is a boy who can shape shift into a dragon and other creatures, his parents can also do this. he wants to become a knight but isn’t confident about it. The rogue of the novel is a beastly boy called Percy Crumble and there is a girl posing as a boy.
At the beginning of this Medieval fantasy there is a map of the village and castle where Merek and his family live. It has places named The Fruit and Nut Black forest, Grist’s Mill and the Route Canal. Great fun for adults too, many will remember the River Phoenix.
Donovan Bixley shows his immense talent and great versatility with the illustrations which are superb black and white drawings. I hope this becomes a series like their earlier effort Dinosaur Rescue.
Lets get those reluctant boys reading. This book is a great start.
Just read the Uncorrected Book Proof of this new fantasy novel for intermediate and older readers and discovered it to be the most unique idea I have read for sometime. You get the impression that the author with the impressive name of Django Wexler, is well versed in fantasy writing.
Young Alice overhears a threatening conversation between her father and someone she discovers to be a yellow and black fairy by the name of Vespidian. Her father immediately announces that he is taking a voyage to South America and the ship is lost at sea. Alice’s house is sold and she is sent to stay with her uncle a quirky character called Geryon.
The house she lives in is run by magical servants that Alice never sees and her only contact is with a strange girl named Emma and a hairy manservant named Mr Black.
Behind the house is a huge library and Alice just has to look inside. She follows a talking cat named Ashes and explores the dusty shelves and rooms. Soon she is in trouble. A boy named Isaac shows her a book, which she starts to read then disappears inside the book as a character. After a bloodcurdling escape from death when chased by creatures called swarmers, Alice finds herself back in bed.
Is it a dream? No. It is certainly magic. Alice then meets her uncle Geryon who informs her she is a Reader, with a special power to detect magic in books, and she learns her uncle and the black and yellow fairy both want to find a book with a dragon in it. A dragon that Alice has a special link with. Will she find it before anyone else and what is it’s power?
Interested? Well get it and read it. You will be amazed. Well written, short chapters, complicated yet easy to understand without the myriad of characters that often inhabit fantasy novels.
The book had pages set aside for illustrations that were not shown. I hope they are in colour because there are special scenes in this novel that demand good pictures.
When fantasy and history blend as in this novel anything can happen and anything does.
Tao is a novice Buddhist monk living a spartan existence in a monastary. He has come from a rich family and senses that he has a mission in life. His master sends him on a quest for alms to the city of Luoyang which has been destroyed by marauding armies that have replaced the Han Dynasty.
Before leaving he is found by a shape shifting dragon named Kai, who is on his own quest to find the last dragonslayer and kill him. The dragon is drawn to Tao because of a purple shard that he carries and the meaning of this will become apparent as the novel evolves.
You will have to read the rest yourself and you will not be disappointed.
Easy to read with Buddhist phyilosophy and teachings throughout.There is no need to have read the first three books in this series but you may wish to do so.
Intermediate and high school readers will like this.
The Last Summoner by Sherryl Jordan. Pub. Scholastic, 2011.
“A story is like an onion: the more you peel off, the more there is underneath” When you peel all the layers off you come to the core and that core is the reader, it is you. This is Sherryl Jordan’s philosophy in this novel for children and she does it brilliantly.
This is a story of dragons, the heart of much fantasy writing, and if you believe in dragons then the child still lurks within you and you are richer for it.
Dragons have been enslaved by a curse which binds them forever to the will of the Summoner and to residing in Bodenroth Swamp. The dragons have been used to fight wars and their lives are miserable. Will they be released from the curse?
Into the story comes Poppy Loddo, the last summoner who is blind. He hasn’t a living son to pass the secrets of the summoner on to, but he does have a grand daughter, Ari, who dreams of the dragons and instinctively knows the song that can summon them from the swamp. Will she get the chance? A mirror made of moon dust may hold the key.
Another war is threatening and the dragons need to be summoned. This precipitates an outstanding adventure fantasy that will melt your heart and kick start that inner kid that we all have in us. Essentially it is for primary and intermediate school children but go on give it a crack, you will love it.
Read it aloud to your children, this is a beauty.
No Such thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve. Pub. Scholastic Childrens books. 2009
The best book about a dragon that I have read since Sheryl Jordan’s Hunting the last Dragon, only better. More an adventure than a fantasy and a superb story that will grip you tighter than the scaly talons of the dragon.
Philip Reeve showed his mastery of the Medieval mentality in his Carnegie Medal winning title Here lies Arthur, and in this title he portrays a Christendom full of tricksters, villains and fraudsters, none greater than Brock the dragon slayer, one of the central characters in this novel.
Brock preys on people’s fears of the dragon, rather than on the reality of the existence of a dragon that slaughters livestock and burns villages with it’s fiery breath. He employs a young boy, Ansel, to be his squire. Ansel has had a horrid upbringing and has lost the power of speech through mistreatment by his father. Will he get it back by the end of the story?
Brock and Ansel are employed to kill a dragon that allegedly lives on Dragon mountain, and the villagers tell graphic stories of what it looks like and what it has done. Brock is secretly cynical but agrees to set off into the mountains with Ansel and a reluctant holy monk, Flegel, who is nothing but a fraud himself. What will happen to him?
On the mountain they meet a young girl, Else, who was left as a sacrifice to the dragon, but has somehow survived, and confirms that the dragon exists and the villagers horror stories are true.
What happens after that is just magnificent and the ending is superb. If you miss this dragon story it serves you right.
Aimed at Intermediate and junior secondary but if you like dragon stories you’re going to love this one.