Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Shelf Life [kids]

The Dragon’s Egg by Alison Baird, 139 pages.
Ai Lien has a wonderful secret. A talking Chinese dragon with magical powers lives at her house!
The little dragon, Lung Wang, is reluctant to be seen by anyone other than his friend, Ai Lien. He hides in her bedroom and even her parents have never seen him in the form of a dragon.
Lung Wang can do something quite astonishing: he can change his shape and form. When he accompanies Ai Lien on walks and errands, he sometimes takes the form of a pet dog, and sometimes that of a human. (Of course, he prefers to be a dragon – but that would instantly draw attention!)
Ai Lien is having difficulty making friends at her new school, thanks to Jake, the school bully. Her loneliness is eased by knowing that she can play with Lung Wang after school each day. The two become close friends and share many adventures … but on the night of Lung Wang’s first birthday, it is time for him to return to his family in the Yangtze River in China.
How can Ai Lien let her friend go?
First published in 1994, Alison Baird’s newly republished story about a magical friendship, complete with fascinating details about Chinese dragons, will continue to intrigue young dragon fans and those who enjoy a well-written story.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 10 years.

How to Train Your Dragon: How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero by Cressida Cowell, 398
Set in a fictional Viking world, the popular How to Train Your Dragon series features Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as a thoroughly likeable young protagonist, the only person of his tribe who is able to speak and understand Dragonese, the language of the dragons. The tribe trains the creatures as pets, and Hiccup, who is the chief’s son, has two of his own: Toothless (a hunting dragon) and Windwalker (a flying dragon).
In the eleventh installment of the series, How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero, Hiccup must recover the royal King’s Things from Alvin the Treacherous and reach the Tomorrow Land to claim the throne of King of the Wilderwest – all before Doomsday Yule. 
Hiccup and the other members of the Company of the Dragonmark face enormous challenges to accomplish this. They must overcome the evil Witch Excellinor, her terrifying Vampire Spydragons, the deadly Ravenhunters and a possible traitor in Hiccup’s own camp – someone who could easily betray him.
Readers will be drawn in by this inventive, quirky and often amusing adventure epic which includes lots of action and danger plus plenty of twists and turns.
The last book of this series, which features the themes of loyalty, friendship and endurance, will soon be published.

** Recommended for ages 8 to 12 years.

This review appeared in The Stratford Gazette on January 16, 2014. Written by Sally Hengeveld, Librarian.

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