cover image Three Tasks for a Dragon

Three Tasks for a Dragon

Eoin Colfer, illus. by P.J. Lynch. Candlewick, $19.99 (112p) ISBN 978-1-5362-2999-8

A quest that suggests certain death unfolds quite differently in this reason-centered fantasy novella by previous collaborators Colfer and Lynch (The Dog Who Lost His Bark). Calm, analytical Prince Lir is startled when his stepmother, Queen Nimh, denies him the throne because he’s failed to summon the wolfhounds—after all, no monarch has completed the wolfhound-summoning ceremony for 500 years. Instead, the queen decrees that her biological son, Prince Delbayne, should become king. Secretly wanting Lir dead, Delbayne sends the prince into the world. But since a questor knight, like Lir’s late father, is always granted the kingdom’s shelter, Lir may return if he rescues a subject’s daughter from the great dragon Lasvarg. “The trick to it... is to work with what is around you,” Lir’s father, Good King Rufus, used to tell him—and that’s just what he does, bringing his scientific mind and medical intuition to the dragon’s lair, where he and the creature negotiate the completion of three tasks: cure the dragon’s mold-plagued ailments, mend his broken wing, and restore his fire-breathing powers. Colfer combines thrilling moments and hints of romance, while Lynch provides misty fantasy landscapes and portraits of the story’s heroes and villains in expressive art. Most characters present as white. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)