Friday, July 24, 2015

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Sometimes a book has everything that you normally like, from an author you've enjoyed in the past to a fun plot and yet it just doesn' with you. That's what happened to me with this book.

Miss Drake is downcast about the death of her human pet, Amelia, even if she won't admit it to anyone. So she's not at all thrilled when Amelia's quirky great-niece (I think) Winnie shows up. Winnie gradually wins her way into Miss Drake's heart and both are able to not only become friends but handle some magical difficulties and grieve together for their respective losses.

Black and white illustrations spot the story, illuminating the magical creatures and feelings of the various characters. I am not a particular fan of Mary GrandPre, but many people enjoy her illustrations and they do fit well with this magical story.

So, why didn't I get into this? I can't really say. It's a short fantasy, which can be hard to find in this age of 400 page tomes. It's sweet without being saccharine, has lots of magical details and creatures, and Yep's world-building is impeccable. I was skeptical about how much time Winnie spends alone, without her mom knowing (or seeming to care) where she is. At one point, I was sure the story was going to twist and Winnie was going to turn out to be an orphan and Miss Drake would adopt her.

Verdict: I can't really say why I didn't get into this. It was just not what I was in the mood for reading I guess. Fans of Chris D'Lacey's dragon stories will absolutely love it though. If you have beginning chapter readers who like fantasy or families who like to read aloud together, this would be good for those as well.

ISBN: 9780385392280; Published 2015 by Crown Books/Random House; Borrowed from another library in my consortium

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