Sunday, February 1, 2015

Book Review: A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder



Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Two main characters and plenty of fun
Cons: Slow and repetitive story
The Bottom Line:
Fun take on dragons
Two delightful characters
But a slow story




I Wanted to Care for This Debut More Than I Did

Some titles just grab your attention.  That was certainly the case with A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans.  The description sounded like fun, too, so I decided to give it a try.  Unfortunately, it didn’t quite live up to the fun I had envisioned.

Miss Drake has just lost her pet Fluffy, or Amelia as the pet’s fellow humans called her.  She has no desire to get another pet right away.  After a decade or two, maybe she’ll think about it.  After all, dragons live so long there’s no need to rush in to anything.

However, ten-year-old Winnie won’t leave Miss Drake alone.  She and her mom have inherited the mansion from Amelia, and Amelia gave Winnie a key to Miss Drake’s lair.  When Winnie insists on coming on an errand and gets a magical book, she starts the duo on a dangerous adventure.  Will Miss Drake accept her new pet?  Will they be successful in their new quest?

This isn’t the first time I’d run across the idea of humans as a different specie’s pets, but I found it fun yet again.   Over the course of the novel, we are introduced to a magical world that is fun and holds promise of more adventures to be had.  There are some different twists on the fantasy elements introduced here, and I’m sure kids will love it.

I also enjoyed Miss Drake and Winnie and their growing relationship.  The book is narrated first person from Miss Drake’s point of view, and we can see how her opinion of Winnie changes as things progress.  It also provides some of the humor as we watch Winnie’s reaction to all she is learning from the eyes of someone who already knows it.

So where did the book stumble?  The plot.  It was just too slow for my tastes.  As I was reading along, I realized I was almost half way done and we were still getting Miss Drake and Winnie together and the real plot hadn’t started.  Even when it does, the story is a little repetitive.  Maybe I was expecting too much from the approximately 160 pages of the novel, but the pace could have been much better.

Then again, maybe I’m looking at this as an adult.  The targeted middle elementary school audience will probably love it and not notice the issues with the plot I did.  Either way, they will find it a quick read.

I have a feeling this book could turn into a fun fantasy franchise that kids might love.  I just wish A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans had been stronger.

NOTE: I received this book via Amazon’s Vine program.  The book is scheduled for release 3/10/15.

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