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THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM by Tad Williams

THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM

By Tad Williams (Author) , Greg Swearingen (Author) , Greg Swearingen (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: June 2nd, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-06-154345-6
Publisher: Bowen Press/HarperCollins

An unremarkable fantasy dabbles in several genres as contemporary kids visit a strange farm. Tyler and older sister Lucinda, who alternate narrative viewpoints, depart sullenly for unknown Uncle Gideon’s dull-sounding Ordinary Farm. Advance instructions provide rules to follow near fire-breathing cows, but the word “cows” has been superimposed over another word. Readers will correctly guess that the supposed cows are the titular dragons, one of whom is pinioned (cruelly, though the text doesn’t acknowledge that) in the “sick barn” as she nurses an egg. Farmhands reveal some of Ordinary Farm’s treasures (wild unicorns and other creatures), but many secrets remain hushed, and Gideon deflects the siblings’ questions. Bold, plucky Tyler probes the mysteries by exploring, while Lucinda frets and lags behind, perhaps simply because she’s a girl. A fault line leading to past centuries and parallel dimensions, plus a fairy-tale–like conjurer and her cold son, tack on genre upon genre until the structure feels slapdash. Implausibilities and simplified stereotypes of foreigners add to this series opener’s mediocrity. (Fantasy. 9-12)