cover image The Dragon's Eye

The Dragon's Eye

Dugald Steer, . . Candlewick, $15.99 (221pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-2810-9

The year is 1882, in this first volume of the Dragonology Chronicles, and Daniel and Beatrice's parents leave the siblings in the care of their friend Dr. Drake while they attend to their mysterious "work." Dr. Ernest Drake, an eccentric "dragonologist" (whose name will be familiar to Dragonology fans), proceeds to teach them the skills of dragonology—the care and protection of the beasts that society believes are mythical but are actually just well camouflaged. The children learn of the Dragon Master, a human who had authority over the field; before his death, the last Dragon Master, Ebenezer Crook, decided that his post should remain vacant—and the Dragon Eye gem, the symbol of the Master's authority and which bears Crook's reflection, is hidden. Enter Ignatius Crook, son of Ebenezer, who is intent on finding the gem, and steals Dr. Drake's dragon diary for clues to its whereabouts. A thought-provoking allegory on the conservation of animals lurks just below the surface of the novel (Crook felt that dragons should be allowed to go extinct if that is their destiny, while Drake feels it is man's responsibility to protect all creatures). Steer's story strongly resembles its best-selling journal-like predecessors, only in narrative form. The author liberally sprinkles countless species and their attributes, along with bits of history and dragon lore, around the tale of Drake vs. Crook. It might seem slight on its own, but as a companion to Dragonology the book is quite satisfying and charming. Ages 9-up. (Dec.)