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FALCON AND THE CHARLES STREET WITCH by Luli Gray

FALCON AND THE CHARLES STREET WITCH

By Luli Gray

Age Range: 9 - 13

Pub Date: March 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-16410-3
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

In a sequel to the beguiling Falcon’s Egg (1995), Gray continues her sweetly old-fashioned fantasy about a girl and her dragon. After a visit to their divorced father in Australia, 12-year-old Falcon and her little brother Toody are saved by Egg, Falcon’s erstwhile pet dragon, from what could have been a tragic (if implausible) accident. When Falcon turns to an ingratiatingly eccentric witch and another (elderly) dragon to locate her accidentally mislaid brother, the misadventures begin. Falcon and company are swept off to a fantastic alternative New York, while her father and his aboriginal allies attempt to protect Egg from the triple menace of sightseers, the military, and (most sinister) a blowhard talk-show host. Eventually, the villains are routed, the grownups learn to believe in magic, and serious-minded Falcon achieves a new degree of self-confidence. Leavening a riotous imagination with a delightful practicality (flying dragonback still requires bathroom breaks), and chock-full of allusions to children’s and world literature (the dragons speak in mangled classical quotations), Gray’s style is reminiscent of the lighthearted charm of Edward Eager. But lacking his subtly dark infrastructure, the author’s fluffy soufflé of a plot eventually collapses under the weight of its own whimsy, degenerating into a confusing anticlimactic confrontation and lowbrow jokes about dragon flatus. Still, Falcon is an engaging heroine, and middle-school readers will no doubt look forward to her further adventures. Sources for the quotations, along with a cookie recipe, are included in the endmatter. (Fiction. 9-13)