Leon Archibald, children's book buyer at Bank Square Books in Mystic, Conn., offers words of praise for a summer novel.

Thomas and the Dragon Queen has everything you'd expect in a tale of a chivalrous age: a brave knight, a kidnapped princess, a fearsome dragon—but none of these in quite the way you'd expect. The brave knight is 12 years old and the size of a boy half his age, the princess is content—even very happy—in her prison within the dragon lair, and the dragon does indeed have a rich treasure, but it is not at all what you would expect.

So what can you expect from Thomas and the Dragon Queen? Expect a very small boy to accept a dangerous quest and to struggle bravely against overwhelming, impossible challenges. Expect the boy to fight an ancient sea monster. Expect a small boy to challenge a royal queen—who's a dragon.

Expect to realize that you care very much about how things will turn out for this small boy. Expect to be surprised. But above all, expect a wonderful tale, well told.

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum, illus. by Lee Wildish. Knopf, $15.99 July ISBN 978-0-375-85703-4