In this whimsical first book in the Zoey and Sassafras series, Zoey—a resourceful budding scientist with brown skin, springy curls, and a cat sidekick—learns that her mother has been secretly rehabilitating magical animals in their backyard. Naturally, Zoey wants to help, but when a sick baby dragon appears while her mother is away, she must use the tools available to her to help the dragon survive. Citro plays Zoey’s anxieties against her can-do attitude, demonstrating how research, past experience, and the scientific method can come in handy (investigating what dragons like to eat, Zoey learns that they enjoy marshmallows but fish is a better choice). Dense blocks of text don’t make for a terribly inviting reading experience, but Lindsay’s cheery spot illustrations help, and Citro gracefully balances her story’s scientific and fantasy elements. Simultaneously available: Monsters and Mold and Merhorses and Bubbles. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/2017 Release date: 03/01/2017 Genre: Children's
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