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'A Dragon's Guide To The Care And Feeding Of Humans' by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder

Feb 23, 2016

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder

illustrated by Mary GrandPre

Yearling, 2016

Miss Drake, the dragon, calls her pet human “Fluffy.” But she was “Great Aunt Amelia” to ten-year-old Winnie, whose single mother inherited Aunt Amelia's mansion after she died. Only Winnie knows that Miss Drake is a dragon, however. Great Aunt Amelia has been regaling her with stories about her dragon through letters since she was young, but only as her death approached did she reveal her true secret.

Having had to scrape by with her mother after her father's death, Amelia's inheritance comes as a great surprise to Winnie and her family. And while Miss Drake is at first determined not to get too close to this mysterious niece of “Fluffy's” (that she previously knew nothing about), she is soon drawn in by this spunky and mischievous girl who, like the dragon herself, appears to have a heart of gold beneath her tough exterior.

On their first outing together, Miss Drake takes the form of a human, and leads Winnie through the streets of San Francisco, before taking on her dragon form and cloaking them both in an invisibility spell so that they can fly to Clipper's magic Emporium on a cloud, unseen. There, Miss Drake buys Winnie a beautiful sketchbook, which Winnie later uses to draw all of the magical creatures she has witnessed over the course of their adventures.

When she wakes up the next morning, however, all of the pages of the sketchbook are blank, and Miss Drake realizes that the book must have been under a magic spell, and all of the creatures that Winnie has drawn have come to life and left the pages of the book to have their own adventures in the city. It doesn't take them too long to track down some of the smaller creatures, but there are a couple that pose big problems, not only to Winnie and Miss Drake, but potentially to the humans and magicals in San Francisco as well.

This clever and creative tale with be a fun and easy read for upper elementary and middle school students. Fantastical illustrations by Mary GrandPre grace the cover and first page of each chapter of the book, providing visuals for some of the more imaginative descriptions. The book ends with an excerpt from the next book in the series, A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter, in which Winnie begins to attend a school for humans and magicals. While the first book in the series is written entirely in the voice of the dragon, Winnie begins to speak for herself in the second volume. Both are sure to keep young readers interested and entertained.

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Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder

Laurence Yep is a two-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. His is the author of over sixty books, including the bestselling Isabelle American Girl of the Year titles

Joanne Ryder has published over seventy books and received numerous awards for her nature writing and poetry. This is her first book starring a dragon and her first collaboration with her husband, Laurence Yep. 

Mary GrandPre is best known as the illustrator of the Harry Potter books. She has illustrated several picture books, including the 2015 Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock, and The Blue Shoe by Roderick Townley.