|Aunt Severe and the Dragons by Nick Garlick and Nick Maland|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: A lovely, slightly quirky little adventure story.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 128||Date: July 2010|
|Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd|
Daniel is a little boy whose parents have gone away exploring. They telephone him every day, but then one day the phone calls stop and so Daniel has to go to live with his Aunt Severe. She takes his toys away, feeds him spinach sandwiches, wakes him every day at four-thirty and gets him helping with her rather strange rubbish-collecting activities. Things get more interesting for Daniel when he discovers four little lost dragons hiding in Aunt Severe's garden. He tries to help them, but before he can do anything three of the dragons are captured and locked up in a zoo. Daniel is left to rescue them with only the fourth dragon, Dud's, help and, as you can imagine, he's called 'Dud' for a reason!
I really like the way this story is told. There are times when the story might seem a little bit odd, but really this is where the humour lies. The reader must suspend disbelief right from the start, trusting that a little boy would be left to live alone with only a daily phone call from his exploring parents to see he's alright! This continues through the rest of the story, with talking dragons (who go to dragon school), an aunt who appears to earn a living from making things out of rubbish, and a lack of surprise from people about the appearance of dragons in the town.
The text through the story is nice and easy to read, but not overly simplistic, and the light, quirky humour ensures that it's never boring. Each chapter is only a few pages long, so it's in easy digestible chunks for children who are reading for themselves. There are plenty of pen and ink illustrations by Nick Maland throughout the book which add to the story, although I have to admit that I wasn't sure about the dragons - they looked a little bit too chunky and heavy to be able to fly to me!
There's a nice suggestion, with Dud the dragon who can't yet fly, of how perseverance is important and of course it's Dud who helps to save the day in the end. This is handled lightly however, so there's no heavy moralising. There's a little bit of a twist in the tale for Daniel to try and figure out, which I liked, and although the ending is all tied up neatly it's left with an opening for a sequel.
I suspect the book would be best received by those around 7 to 10 years old, though it's a nice, fun story so it would work well as a bedtime story book too for slightly younger children to enjoy too.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Children who enjoy this might also like the Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton.
You can read more book reviews or buy Aunt Severe and the Dragons by Nick Garlick and Nick Maland at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Aunt Severe and the Dragons by Nick Garlick and Nick Maland at Amazon.com.
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