Tag Archives: dragon

Princess Bella and the Dragon’s Charm by Pete Planisek

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Princess Bella and the Dragon’s Charm by Pete Planisek, illustrated by Elizabeth Nordquest, chapter e-book, 42 pages, published by Enceladus Literary in 2016.

Princess Bella is beautiful and kind, but she does not laugh. Eventually the people in her kingdom begin to refer to her as the Ice Princess because no one has ever heard her laugh. One evening after a particularly bad day, Princess Bella is dragonapped from the highest tower of the castle, and removed to a treasure-filled cave high in a distant mountain. Princess Bella quickly befriends the lonely dragon, Spurlock, and they enjoy each other’s company. After a while Princess Bella begins to feel homesick. She can’t stay in a dragon’s cave forever, can she?

A whimsical tale of friendship and acceptance, I quite enjoyed Princess Bella and the Dragon’s Charm. It was a quick and easy read, with short sentences and simple phrasing perfect for young readers starting out with chapter books.

Each chapter had a colourful illustration at the start showing an image from the story. These were not only cute, but also helpful in making the text less daunting for younger readers.

The story was heart-warming, and it made me laugh, especially when Prince Himmasnob was about! Even his hair was amusing. I have a soft spot for dragons, and I really liked Spurlock. The concept of an ice-skating, skiing, snow-ball tossing dragon just delighted me.

Princess Bella and the Dragon’s Charm is most suitable for lower to middle primary school children to read themselves, but it would also be a lovely story to share aloud.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

This Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie

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hungrydragonThis Hungry Dragon by Heath McKenzie, hardback picture book, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

A very hungry dragon goes on an eating spree. Bear, fox, bull, is there anything he won’t eat?

This Hungry Dragon is an hilarious book with a message about eating right. The dragon grows and grows with every meal, eating well past the time when he is actually full, leaving him feeling rather sick.

All of my kids love This Hungry Dragon, especially my three year olds. They will ‘read’ it to themselves over and over, in between asking me to read it to them. The story is funny with great read aloud rhyming language and lovely illustrations. The dragon is pretty cute, but my favourite picture is inside the dragon’s tummy. We all love to spot different items that the dragon has eaten! I also like the unchangeable expression on the beefy bull.

This Hungry Dragon is most suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and lower primary school children. Heath McKenzie is a well loved author in our house; we like I Wanna Be a Pretty Princess and What Does Santa do When it’s not Christmas. We are looking forward to more books from this terrific author soon.

Guardian of the Gold Breathers by Elise Stephens

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goldbreatherGuardian of the Gold Breathers by Elise Stephens, e-book, 176 pages, published by Updrift in 2015.

After Liam’s father dies, his life begins to change, culminating in his mother remarrying and them leaving Dublin behind for a house in the country with his new step-father, Dr Parker. Liam is unhappy about these changes, but at least he meets some interesting people at the new house; the housekeeper Hannah and the gardener Michael. Liam is led to a dragon egg, and Michael instructs him on how to hatch it. Then Liam is set on a path to prove who he is and to help a distant fairytale kingdom right the wrongs of the past.

Guardian of the Gold Breathers is a lovely, though sometimes sad, fantasy novel. Fairies, goblins, and even a troll are brought to life as Liam learns about the real fairy stories.

The story felt a little familiar; lonely boy discovers he is something more, passes trials to prove himself, fulfils destiny. Still, it was well written and entertaining, and I enjoyed it. I liked the old tale of the Guardian and the Prince, and the idea that somewhere dragons and men once lived happily side by side.

Michael was an especially intriguing character, surrounded by much mystery. He was my favourite, though I also liked Liam and Hannah. Liam had a lot going on in his life, and I think he would have really suffered had he not met Hannah and Michael when he did. I mostly felt sorry for his mum, marrying Dr Parker because he could provide for them. Dr Parker I disliked quite a lot. His scientific work using live dogs was awful, but I also hated the way he treated Liam. He was insensitive to the boy’s feelings whilst being derisive of Liam’s love for reading and map making. Dr Parker didn’t even try to listen or understand Liam.

As Guardian of the Gold Breathers is under 200 pages, it would be suitable for slower readers interested in fantasy, who might otherwise be daunted by a longer book. It’s also great for kids who like fairy tales and dragons.

Guardian of the Gold Breathers is most suitable for middle and upper primary school children.

 

*I received this book from the author as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Trouble at Home by Cate Whittle

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troubleathomeTrouble at Home by Cate Whittle, and illustrated by Kim Gamble, chapter book, 96 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2016.

Georgia’s house is stolen by a large, green dragon with blue wings. Which is bad enough, but her little brother, Godfrey, was in the house watching TV at the time, so he was taken too. Georgia’s mum is distraught about Godfrey, and they have nowhere to live. No-one believes Georgia about the dragon, so she takes her other brother, Henry, and sets out to rescue Godfrey, assuming he hasn’t already been eaten by the dragon.

This quirky chapter book was a fun read with my seven year old. She could have easily read it by herself; it was a good length, contained appropriate language for younger children, and had short chapters, with black and white illustrations scattered throughout. However, we often read together as it is fun to share stories like this one, and we really did enjoy Trouble at Home.

The story is written in first person by Georgia. She is a great character; I loved her dialogue, and the way her story was written. It reminded me a lot of how my girls tell stories. We liked the way the dragon was portrayed too. Who knew a dragon could blush? Or be a fan of tea?

Trouble at Home is suitable for lower to middle primary school children, and would suit reluctant readers. There are more Trouble books in the series, which we definitely want to read. We already have the second book in the series, Trouble and the Missing Cat, which my daughter has asked to read next.

 

The Princess and the Dragon: A Fractured Fairy Tale by Marjorie Bayes

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The Princess and the Dragon coverThe Princess and the Dragon: A Fractured Fairy Tale by Marjorie Bayes and illustrated by Agnes Villeda, e-book, 40 pages, published in 2015.

This unusual princess helps her father and mother to rule, and on the side she rescues princes. One very annoying prince has been captured by the Dragon. Dutifully, the Princess goes along to rescue him, only to find the Dragon isn’t really all that good at being a dragon. So she recruits him to help her with some issues in the Kingdom.

The Princess and the Dragon is a short chapter book that will delight children young and old. It turns the ‘Prince rescues Princess, slays dragon and marries Princess” fairy tale on its head in an entertaining and amusing way. There are only three chapters, so it was a quick read for me, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the simple pictures too. Every second page or so is filled with coloured illustrations, which are beautifully rendered and complement the story nicely.

My favourite character was the Dragon, with his ineffectual roar, vegetarian ways and love of roses. He was always reluctant to help the Princess, but got there eventually. It was funny that he kept telling her things were against the dragon rules, when he was mostly just making that up! The Princess is no ordinary royal either, she is forthright, sensible and responsible. No pretty dresses and swooning for her! She makes a great lead character and role model for girls. She can be herself and she can do anything.

The Princess and the Dragon is an enjoyable read most suitable for lower and middle primary school students.

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

Googa Nark: A Great Adventure by Brian Moos

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Googa Nark Book CoverGooga Nark: A Great Adventure by Brian Moos, e-book, 139 pages, published in 2014.

It has been quite a number of years since I first fell into the world created by J.R.R. Tolkein, but as I began Googa Nark, that is what I was reminded of. The old man, Quibby, comes to tell our hero, Googa Nark, about a quest that he must undertake for the sake of the land and all the creatures in it. And he should set off with the group of companions waiting outside his house immediately. It made me think of reading by torchlight under the covers after bedtime as a child, where one can truly immerse themselves in a fantasy world, such as that of Googa Nark. Lands with strange names and features, odd creatures and plants, but not all that dissimilar to our own world really. There are forests and plains, valleys, mountains and streams, and across all of these, Googa Nark must venture to rescue the princess.

There are many strange words and names in this story, and the author has supplied a very handy glossary at the end of the story to help the reader remember what everything is. It was great to be able to click on the new word and be taken to the glossary and then be taken back to my place in the book. This is a benefit of e-books that I hadn’t much experienced before. I enjoyed so many of these unusual words, but I think there is something so perfect about the word “kanarful” that I might just have to work it into my everyday vocabulary! The only downsize to the bizarre names was my woeful pronunciation whilst reading aloud to my daughter.

The pace was quick, and the plot exciting. Everything flowed nicely as we followed Googa Nark along on his quest. I loved the way that the narrator inserted himself into the story, adding bits here and there. The advice to the kids reading the story was great, like getting parental permission for vine swinging, or not asking too many questions. This feature added to my enjoyment of the story, and made it more like being told the story rather than reading it.

The characters and landscapes were well described and easy to imagine. I liked most of the characters (except the bad ones, like the Booloorg Pirates). Googa Nark really is the perfect hero; strong, intelligent, brave, polite, loyal, modest… the list of compliments could go on for some time!  He wondered at the amazing things he encountered, and was grateful for all the help he acquired along the way, making some very good friends. I immediately took to the Crunzy Dragon, what a character! He is huge, hearty and peppers his speech with outbursts of “huh!”. He would be ferocious to anyone who did not know him, but to Googa Nark, he is gentle and protective. I think it would be most useful to be able to sneeze and make copies of myself, as Naabalaak Aak does! I would get so much more done 🙂 I also liked the way that 47 could multiply himself, he karnafuls (oh, I love that word!). What a world of fantastical creatures and incredible lands. I’d love to explore more of this world, and the creatures within more deeply.

Googa Nark is an engaging adventure through a wondrous world to save a princess. There are a handful of battle scenes, but nothing too graphic, and it uses appropriate language for children. Perfect for middle to upper primary school students to read for themselves, Googa Nark is also a wonderful tale to share with younger children. The story ended too soon though, but with a hint that there might be more adventures for Googa Nark to come!

 

*I received this book as a digital copy from the author, who asked me for an honest review of this book. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.

 

The Candlestick Dragon by Melanie Ifield

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IMG_4407The Candlestick Dragon by Melanie Ifield, paperback novel, 194 pages, published by Melanie Ifield in 2013.

Daniel is short for his age, wears glasses, and is constantly bullied at school. He never expects to experience adventure outside of a book, he can’t even swim, and he’s not very fond of physical activity anyway. Yet a simple excursion to the recycling centre with his mother, Darling, changes Daniel’s whole world. He brings home a candlestick with a statue of a dragon clinging to it, but it is no ordinary candlestick! The dragon blinks his eyes, shakes off his stoney exterior and speaks to Daniel. He is Nilofar, a small dragon, roughly the size of a cat, and he is on a mission, sent from his homeland, Novarmere, through a gateway portal to Earth. Adventure is at hand, with magic, wizards, a young princess, brave warriors and terrifying creatures that Daniel could never have imagined.

I enjoyed this fantasy adventure story, which was exciting, well written, and contained interesting and well described characters and landscapes. I particularly liked Nilofar. As a child I would have loved to have discovered a friendly dragon that was small enough to sit on my shoulder, wrapping his tail around me and chuckling smokey bursts about my head! Really, I would still like a friend like this! Cute and brave, Nilofar was my favourite character, though all the characters were interesting, and I came to feel rather protective of Daniel. Rishana’s attitude felt very true to form for a young teenage princess with so much power at her fingertips, I liked her vacillation between pouty teenager and easygoing comrade. We were able to see her in her role as the confident Princess of Novarmere, as well as the young and inexperienced girl that she actually is. And their immediate enemy, the evil wizard Rullin, was suitably evil, cunning and boastful.

Most suitable for middle primary school through to lower high school students, The Candlestick Dragon is still a good read for adults too. Some younger readers may find some of the action and the mythical creatures a little frightening. There is some fighting and death, though I didn’t feel that it was overly graphic. I am happy for my third grader to read this book, and will be encouraging her to do so.

I received The Candlestick Dragon for free through Goodreads First Reads. It is the first book in the Chronicles of Novarmere: Dark Wizard Quartet. The second book hasn’t been released yet, but I am very keen to read it and follow Daniel’s next adventure.