This comedy starring a 3,000-year-old dragon and a scrappy little girl takes young readers into a fantasy world situated right next to ours.
Miss Drake enjoys humans but sees them as pets. Sadly, her most recent pet, a lady she called “Fluffy” but whom her family knew as “Great-Aunt Amelia,” recently passed away. Now, Amelia’s niece, 10-year-old Winnie, has come to live in Miss Drake’s mansion in San Francisco. Right from the start, Winnie just won’t follow Miss Drake’s rules for pets. When the girl draws some fanciful creatures in a magical sketchbook, the creatures become real and escape, causing Miss Drake to frantically work to contain the damage. When one of Winnie’s sketches turns out to be a truly dangerous creature, even the best of the magical participants at the Enchanter’s Fair can’t defeat it. Creating a magical world that lies alongside but is concealed from ours, Yep and Ryder write the story from Miss Drake’s prissy perspective, using the framework of a pet-care book. The tale is alternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional, as when it touches on the deaths of Great-Aunt Amelia and Winnie’s father and as Miss Drake becomes increasingly fond of Winnie. The playful pen-and-ink illustrations by GrandPré at the beginning of each chapter add yet more charm.
Delightful whimsy. (Fantasy. 8-12)