My latest batch of dragon books is up at B. and N. Kids; here's what I didn't say there

I have a very nice batch lot of current MG Dragon Books up at BN Kids blog, and it was a pleasure to read them and to recommend them.

But there are certain things I couldn't say at B.and N., partly because of space constraints, and partly because the point is to be enthusiastic about books, not share my own idiosyncrasies, and there are three things in particular that I want to share here that I didn't feel comfortable sharing there.

A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter, by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, is the sequel to the very excellent A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans.  Here's what I couldn't say--this sequel is just fine, and I enjoyed reading it.  But what I loved about the first book was the two main characters, dragon and girl, figuring out their relationship.  Here that relationship has been pretty much worked out, so this second book is more a string of episodic adventures, which are fine if you like episodic adventures but I like narrowly focused character relationships more (as long as the characters are interesting).

Dragons vs. Drones, by Wesley King.  What I couldn't say--What the hell are they eating?  I was pleased when one main character packs a granola bar in his backpack at the start of his adventures--here, I thought, is an author that knows his characters need to eat, and that middle grade and teen kids often think about eating.  I was so wrong.  Weeks go by before the two main characters eat again, and since they have fled a city being destroyed to take shelter in a remote dragon cave, far from any kitchen, it is hard to imagine that there would be anything for them to eat even if it occurred to them.  I don't need to know the details of every meal, but when I start to imagine the main characters stoically starving to death it distracts me from the story.  The granola bar is never eaten on page, either.  I think if you mention a granola bar at the beginning of the book, it should be eaten by the end of it.  Although God knows many a middle grade back pack has an ancient granola bar substrate.

I don't think the lack of food will bother the target audience, who in my experience are used to food magically just being always available with arm's reach (although my older son has been forced to walk down the street in the rain to buy cheerios on occasion).

The Trelian series, by Michelle Knudsen.  What I couldn't say quite this enthusiastically--I reread the first two right before reading the final book that just came out, The Mage of Trelian, and oh boy was it a fine reading experience going from the beginning all the way to the end!  I felt Love, untrammeled by food concerns, as -character driven adventures, which were also tense and desperate circumstance-adventures, swept me along in the story.  I also happen to like magic that involves color; the mage of Trelian has a sort of magical synesthesia and so he sees different types of spells as having different colors.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing! I should really look into the Trelian series, which I haven't read at all yet.


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