cover image IGNIS


Gina Wilson, , illus. by P.J. Lynch. . Candlewick, $16.99 (40pp) ISBN 978-0-7636-1623-6

A young dragon's quest for his fire fuels this cloying, fantastic tale about self-discovery. Ignis, a spirited dragonlet with beautiful wings, can run and fly faster than his sister and all his friends in Dragonland. Yet Ignis's peers outshine him in one crucial area: fire breathing. Feeling confused and inadequate, Ignis searches the land far and wide trying to find his fire—and his true identity. On his travels he meets a human girl whose friendship and belief in him set Ignis on the right path. Wilson's (Prowlpuss) story never takes flight, lumbering along under the weight of sappy imagery (e.g., "His wings, depending on the weather, opened like silk umbrellas or gossamer parasols") and a precious spiritual message (when Ignis breathes fire atop a dormant volcano, the elders mistake it for "Mysteries and Miracles and Flames That Light Up the World"). Many of Lynch's (The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey) dark pencil and watercolor compositions, especially landscapes viewed by Ignis from the air, bring readers to the brink of a mysterious, magical world. But his depictions of a wide-eyed, anthropomorphic Ignis are inferior to the fine portraits of the elder dragons and of Cara, Ignis's human friend, resulting in an uneven outing. Ages 4-up. (Oct.)