Monday, July 20, 2015

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder, 2015

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Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!
Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late.

(152 pages)

This was a fun book! It's a bit shorter than I'm used to, which is a pity because I would have enjoyed reading more about Miss Drake and Winnie. Especially Miss Drake, the dragon who sees the humans as pets even as they see her as theirs. She just seems like someone I'd love to spend time with, sipping tea and shopping for interesting objects. She's rather rough on the outside, treating Winnie as though she were nothing more than a bother and a pest, but very sweet inside. She reminds me a little bit of a proper old British granny, all stiff and sharp towards her grandkids because of "the principle of the thing!" but then secretly slipping them sweets under the table when no one will notice.

While Winnie comes across a bit strong at times (what little girl is really that comfortable the first time she meets a fierce dragon?), you can't help but love her fiery spirit - and if you're sick to death of perfect girls with "fiery spirits," Winnie also has a soft spot: her sorrow and yearning for her father who died a year or so earlier. You can really tell that his death cut Winnie very deeply, and that there are times when she's still deeply in mourning. Miss Drake is also in mourning, for her old "pet" (Winnie's grandmother), and there are a few very touching scenes about needing to let go of lost loved ones.

I was surprised by how much I liked this book, and I think a lot of that comes from the fact that I never felt talked down to. Too many books written for younger readers become so simplistic and silly that I put them down in disgust. This time, though, it felt like a real, actual story with compelling characters and an important plot. There's really nothing I can say against this great little book (except maybe that it's too short!), and I highly recommend it for fantasy lovers of all ages. Also, if there's a sequel I am totally picking it up. Because a) it will be good, and b) it will be so short  I'll be able to read it in like half an hour. For a busy high school student, that can be a good change of pace once in a while!


  1. This sounds really cute! I think I might just pick it up. Happy reading!

    1. Hi, SMM Frost! It's definitely a very cute book. :)


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