Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith

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Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith

Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Jones
Reviewed by Louise Jones
Summary: A young girl becomes the guardian of a magical kingdom; assigned the job of caring for all of the mythical creatures that live there.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 176 Date: July 2014
Publisher: Puffin
ISBN: 9780141344621

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Hattie's birthday is not going as well as she planned. Mum and Dad are busy at work, her teenage brother is ignoring her and her best friend has decided to go away for the weekend. Hattie is resigned to a morning of watching DVD's in her bedroom until a surprise knock at the door heralds the delivery of a very special gift that will change her life forever.

The gift is a magical vet bag that is a portal to the mysterious kingdom of Bellua. All sorts of mythical creatures make their home in Bellua, including dragons, fairies, mermaids and trolls. The creatures are cared for by a guardian, who helps them when they are sick or hurt and protects them from the wicked King of the imps, Ivar. Hattie has been chosen as the next guardian and her first patient is a little dragon called Mith Ickle, who has lost her fire and her voice.

When writing a book, it is difficult to come up with a concept or premise that hasn't been done before, but Taylor-Smith has managed to create something genuinely new and fresh with her idea of a young vet that cares for magical creatures. Granted, the plot follows the tried and tested 'quest' format, but there is plenty of unique material in the book that will fascinate and delight the young target audience.

The book seemed relatively short and I was unsure as to whether the current format was suitable for the story. An early scene where Hattie's uncle is explaining her role as guardian only spans a couple of pages before the uncle rushes off with a brisk Cheerio!, literally throwing Hattie in at the deep end. In other scenes, Hattie passes areas like the Fairy Forest and Unicorn Meadows, but these receive only the briefest of mentions, leaving the reader curious for more information. I would have preferred the book to have been slightly longer, so that these areas and their inhabitants could have been described in more detail; they deserved more than the brief glossing-over that they received.

The characters in the story were engaging and interesting. Hattie is an appealing protagonist and her dragon friend Mith is very sweet and loveable. The author covers themes such as friendship, hurt feelings and bullying in a way that will resonate with young readers. The illustrations are beautiful and compliment the text perfectly. In creating the magic world of Bellua, the author has opened up a world of limitless potential as different creatures will come to Hattie for help in future books. It will be interesting to see how the series develops and how Hattie grows into her role as guardian. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy of the first book in this exciting new series.

If you fall in love with Mith the dragon, you may enjoy A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell

Buy Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Hattie B, Magical Vet: The Dragon's Song (Book 1) by Claire Taylor-Smith at Amazon.com.


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