Dragon Girl: The Secret Valley, by Jeff Weigel (Andrews McMeel Publishing, June 3, 2014, 192 pages) . The baby dragons she'll meet here will make her heart absolutely melt. If you have any other sort of kid around who loves graphic novels (including, in my case, a 13 year old boy), you can also move very briskly indeed to put it into their hands. And I myself loved it.
Dragon Girl tells how a girl named Alanna finds a dragon hatching
ground, becoming the surrogate mother to one of the baby dragons
after the mother is killed by a knight, Sir Cedric, who's determined to rid the world of
the "scourge" of dragonkind. Alanna loves the time she spends with her new dragon friends, befriending other hatchlings through dancing and playing, while wearing a dragon disguise she made herself to keep them from becoming too trusting of humans. This is a wise thing for her to have done (though it doesn't work on her special dragon friend, who loves her in human form too!). Because when Alanna's older brother spills the beans about the baby dragons to Sir Cedric (because of wanting more of a life than his home village offers), Cedric is filled with fighterly determination to kill them all....and then, when he sees that the eggs are veined with silver, greed comes into play too.
When a grown-up dragon arrives at the hatching ground to take the babies off down a tunnel to the secret valley of the dragons, Alanna's dragon costume is so convincing that she's carried off with the hatchlings. Cedric and Alanna's brother follow, and find a world full of dragons (and lots of silver, which sets Cedric's greedy heart afire!). There they meet a young woman named Margolyn, who studies dragons from her steampunkish airship, who helps them foil Cedric's nefarious plans.
nice bonus: it's Alanna's cleverness that gets Sir Cedric in the end--yay for smart girls!
It is lovely, charming, exciting and moving, and great fun all around! The illustrations, in black and white, do an excellent job of moving the story along without distracting the graphic-novel challenged of us from the words! The baby dragons are adorable, as is Alanna in her dragon garb! And as an added bonus, pages from Margolyn's dragon-study notebook, and detailed schematics of her airship, are included.
This one is a winner, and I am sending it off with my fifth grade today to share with his dragon-loving friends today full of the happy certainty that it will delight them.
disclaimer: review copy received from the publisher.