Caring for a traveling relative’s pet isn’t usually quite so…fraught.
In a series of increasingly frantic email messages to his oddly unresponsive uncle Morton, young Edward Smith-Pickle recounts a series of household mishaps caused by the large dragon so hastily dropped off to mind for a week. For one thing, the animal isn’t housetrained. For another, what does it even eat—besides little sister Emily’s bunny? In the wake of incidents ranging from scorched curtains to a hole torn in the refrigerator, Edward’s disgusted mom would happily foist the beast off on the police or the zoo, if only they didn’t keep hanging up on her. But worse disasters are warded off when Uncle Morton at last writes back to suggest feeding the creature chocolate, and the dragon is instantly transformed from surly headache into a charming, compliant companion. Good thing, because Uncle Morton has upcoming junkets planned, and this short opener, first published overseas in 2012, already has four sequels either out or planned. Amid Edward’s pleas and Morton’s soothing replies, Parsons intersperses large scenes of domestic chaos, frowning (later smiling) people, and an inscrutable, horse-sized dragon flopped bonelessly on the sofa.
Except for the chocolate cure, it’s much like trying to care for an oversized cat…that, OK, breathes fire. (Farce. 7-9)