Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review: The Dragon Thief

Title: The Dragon Thief
Author: Zetta Elliott
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 176
Genre: Fantasy
Availability: Oct. 22, 2019
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley

Summary: Stealing a baby dragon was easy! Hiding it is a little more complicated, in this sequel to reviewer favorite Dragons in a Bag.

Jaxon had just one job–to return three baby dragons to the realm of magic. But when he got there, only two dragons were left in the bag. His best friend’s sister, Kavita, is a dragon thief!

Kavita only wanted what was best for the baby dragon. But now every time she feeds it, the dragon grows and grows! How can she possibly keep it secret? Even worse, stealing it has upset the balance between the worlds. The gates to the other realm have shut tight! Jaxon needs all the help he can get to find Kavita, outsmart a trickster named Blue, and return the baby dragon to its true home.

Review: I was so excited to get my hands on this sequel to the wonderful Dragons in a Bag. There simply aren't enough dragon fantasies for the early chapter book readers. And it is truly awesome to see more Black magic and Black history on our shelves.

These children are young and get themselves into all kinds of difficult situations, but they work together to solve their problems. So much of the book is about being in community with one another, building bridges, and redemption too. Humans are complicated and make mistakes, but when we love each other, we stick together.

I appreciate that the children have caring adults in their lives. So many authors try to write the adults out so the children can have agency, but that's not necessary. Children can still have adventures, make their own choices, and solve problems with adults as part of their story. The intergenerational relationships are really a strong point here. Respect is shown to elders and readers can see that everyone wants to feel needed and valued regardless of age. We can all be part of solutions no matter how young or old.

Another interesting part of the book is the historical aspect. Early in the story, Kavita's aunt shares about her ancestry and why her skin is so dark. I had not known of the Siddis in India or that the slave trade had been active in that part of the world. This is a piece of history that many children and likely many adults in the U.S. do not know. It's one more reminder that there is so much that we don't know we don't know.

Recommendation: I will definitely be including this in our elementary school library. Children will love the adventure and magic and may even learn a few things along the way. Don't miss out.

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