Katie Reads: The Fire Within

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A magical adventure about the power of dragons…

When David moves in with Elizabeth Pennykettle and her eleven-year-old daughter, Lucy, he discovers a collection of clay dragons that come to life. David’s own special dragon inspires him to write a story, which reveals the secrets behind a mystery. In order to solve the mystery and save his dragon, David must master the magic of the fire within—not only with his hands but also with his heart.

You might think that this is a book about dragons. You would be wrong. That’s where my trouble with this book started. Everything from the cover to the description on the back promise me DRAGONS, and they only make up maybe 10% of the book. The other 90% of the book is about squirrels. Now, those of you who know me, know that I love squirrels. That said, going into a book thinking it’s about dragons and then not getting dragons was obviously going to result in disappointment. It felt like the author had two separate story ideas and tried to blend them together unsuccessfully. I really liked both plotlines, but they just did not weave together well. If I had been D’Lacey’s editor I would have suggested he write two separate books. One about the adorable squirrel adventure, and another one featuring a fleshed out version of his clay dragons story.

Also, if Lucy is going to behave the way she does, I think making her 6/7 instead of 10/11 would have made her more believable. I spent a whole semester teaching 10/11 years old and even my trouble-makers were no where near as immature and selfish as Lucy was. As frustrated as I got with Lucy, I would have been less in the “let’s give Lucy a good long time out” boat had she been assigned a younger age.

The squirrel plot was cute (once I accepted that I would not really be getting a book about dragons). Lucy and David are trying to save an injured squirrel in the backyard from a trigger happy neighbor so that they can relocate the squirrel to the park where the other squirrels have moved.

The bits we got with the dragons were really cool. They were sadly few and far between. I want my own personal little writer’s muse dragon like David gets. There’s also some interesting backstory to the dragons that we get in the very end of the book. I’ve heard that the sequels are more dragon focused, but it feels spending most of your time on squirrels in the first book is a poor way to start a dragon fantasy series.

Entertaining enough, and my students will probably enjoy having them in our class library.

Stay magical readers!

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