A good resource for established fans.

GRIFFITH'S GUIDE FOR DRAGON MASTERS

A DRAGON MASTERS SPECIAL EDITION

From the Dragon Masters series

An informational guidebook to the characters and worldbuilding of the Dragon Masters series.

It seems that Griffith of the Green Fields, the royal wizard of the kingdom of Bracken, wants to compile his wizardly research and wisdom into a book, so he has enlisted his friend “Tracey of the West” to pull together a Dragon Masters guidebook from his notes and the contributions of his other friends. The book is primarily organized into illustration-heavy two-page spreads consisting of maps, character profiles (with plenty of information on each Dragon Master’s type of dragon, of course), important objects, and snippets of the world’s history. The diversity among Dragon Masters is foregrounded. The book explicitly states that the Dragon Masters come from all over the world (which is reflected in their racial presentations in the full-color illustrations as well as the cultural notes and illustrations of the regions they come from). Furthermore, some have disabilities, as they are no barrier to a person’s becoming a Dragon Master; all candidates need is to “have good hearts.” Though most profiles provide plenty of context clues as to any given character’s ethnicity and their kingdom’s real-world analog, a map placing characters on continents shaped like Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceania erases ambiguity. There is an inescapably “It’s a Small World”–esque feel to it all, but it certainly means well. The informational format works well for reluctant and below–grade-level readers, and it will help maintain interest in the series for maturing readers more inclined to game guides than fiction.

A good resource for established fans. (Fantasy. 6-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-54034-5

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale.

A TRUE HOME

From the Heartwood Hotel series , Vol. 1

An orphan mouse unexpectedly arrives at Heartwood Hotel, which she hopes will become the home she’s seeking.

Mona’s never had a home for long. After a storm forces her to flee her latest forest shelter, she discovers an enormous tree with a heart carved into its trunk. When Mona presses the heart, a door opens, and she enters the lobby of Heartwood Hotel, where small forest critters hibernate, eat, and celebrate in safety. The kindhearted badger proprietor, Mr. Heartwood, takes pity on homeless Mona, allowing her to stay for the fall to assist the maid, Tilly, a red squirrel. Grateful to be at Heartwood, Mona strives to prove herself despite Tilly’s unfriendly attitude. Mona’s clever approaches with a wounded songbird, an anxious skunk, and a wayward bear win Mr. Heartwood’s approval. But when Mona accidentally breaks a rule, Tilly convinces her she will be fired. As Mona secretly leaves Heartwood, she discovers marauding wolves planning to crash Heartwood’s Snow Festival and devises a daring plan to save the place she regards as home. Charming anthropomorphic characters, humorous mishaps, and outside threats add to the drama. Delicate pencil illustrations reinforce Heartwood’s cozy home theme. A sequel, The Greatest Gift, publishes simultaneously.

A plucky mouse finds her true home in this warm, winning tale. (Animal fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4847-3161-1

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after.

RISE OF THE EARTH DRAGON

From the Dragon Masters series , Vol. 1

Drake has been selected by the king to serve as a Dragon Master, quite a change for an 8-year-old farmer boy.

The dragons are a secret, and the reason King Roland has them is a mystery, but what is clear is that the Dragon Stone has identified Drake as one of the rare few children who have a special connection with dragons and the ability to serve as a trainer. Drake’s dragon is a long brown creature with, at first, no particular talents that Drake can identify. He calls the dragon Worm. It isn’t long before Drake begins to realize he has a very strong connection with Worm and can share what seem to be his dragon’s thoughts. After one of the other Dragon Masters decides to illicitly take the dragons outside, disaster strikes. The cave they are passing through collapses, blocking the passageway, and then Worm’s special talent becomes evident. The first of a new series of early chapter books, this entry is sure to attract fans. Brief chapters, large print, lots of action, attractive illustrations in every spread, including a maplike panorama, an enviable protagonist—who wouldn’t want to be a Dragon Master?—all combine to make an entertaining read.

With plenty left to be resolved, the next entry will be eagerly sought after. (Fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-64624-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Branches/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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