A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans, by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder (Crown Books for Young Readers, March 2015) is a lovely twist on the currently popular care of magical creatures sub-genre of middle grade fantasy. In this case, a dragon, Miss Drake, considers a human girl to be her pet, and as the growing friendship between the two is framed by the dragon's perception that the girl is the one to be trained and raised up properly.
The dragon had had a previous pet, a woman she nicknamed Fluffy. But Fluffy grew old, and died. Miss Drake is distracted from her grief by the arrival of ten-year-old Winnie, Fluffy's great-niece. Winnie had been told about the dragon, and set out to find her rooms in her great-aunt's big old house first thing. Miss Drake is very doubtful, not being at all sure she is ready for a new pet, especially a vigorous and curious one like Winnie, who will need a lot of training. But it turns out that Winnie is just what Miss Drake needs to make life interesting again, and Winnie, who is herself mourning the loss of her father, also finds happiness from their friendship.
And in the meantime, there are magical highjinks aplenty, for Miss Drake is not the only fantastical inhabitant of San Francisco....When the sketches Winnie draws in a magical notebook escape from their pages, the two must find and re-capture them before they can work mischief. There is enough tenseness to keep the story going, but no so much so as to be scary, or to overshadow the character- driven side of the book.
It is fun, and funny, and sincerely moving, and I whole-heartedly recommend it to any younger middle grade readers who would love to make friends with a dragon!