cover image A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans

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

Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, illus. by Mary GrandPré. Crown, $15.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-385-39228-0

In this series launch, Yep (the Dragon quartet), collaborating for the first time with his wife, Ryder (Won’t You Be My Kissaroo?), again conjures up a world where dragons and humans interact, and the results are heartwarming and quite funny. Miss Drake, a shapeshifting dragon, is still mourning the death of her human pet, a woman she called Fluffy, when Fluffy’s impetuous great-niece, Winnie, barges into her lair. “I could see she would be rather impossible to train,” sniffs Miss Drake, whose scorn shifts to admiration as the two begin to bond with each other. After Winnie fills the pages of a magical sketchbook with drawings of fantastical creatures, the menacing “sketchlings” escape, and Winnie and Miss Drake join forces to track them down and return them to the book. Their mutual grief—Winnie’s heartache over the death of her father parallels Miss Drake’s loss of Fluffy—gives a moving underpinning to the magical escapades. Miss Drake’s arch narration and the sharp back-and-forth between the characters create an enchanting story, accented by GrandPré’s whimsical b&w spot illustrations. Ages 8–12. (Mar.)