cover image Anya and the Dragon

Anya and the Dragon

Sofiya Pasternack. Versify, $16.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-358-00607-7

In this charming historical fantasy set in an alternate 10th-century Kievan Rus’, an 11-year-old Jewish girl seeks to save her family home from repossession by finding a fabled river dragon and collecting the czar’s reward. Told to keep to herself, Anya will do whatever it takes to raise the necessary funds—even teaming up with Ivan Ivanovich and his family, a clan permitted to weave fool magic despite a general magical ban—who have recently come to the tiny, magic-infused village of Zmeyreka. But they aren’t the only ones on the hunt: a cruel Viking warrior named Sigurd will stop at nothing to claim the prize first. To Anya and Ivan’s surprise, the dragon turns out to be benevolent and in need of protection from its new friends. With this clever, fast-paced debut, Pasternack draws upon the myth and folklore of Kievan Rus’ to deliver a delightful tale filled with supernatural creatures, including house and water spirits. Everyday details—baking bread, stirring potions, preparing for Shabbat—are as well drawn as folkloric elements, coalescing in a tale that never loses its sense of fun or wonder. Ages 10–12. [em]Agent: Rena Rossner, the Deborah Harris Agency. (Sept.) [/em]