The Duke Who Outlawed Jelly Beans (1991), written by Johnny Valentine and illustrated by Lynette Schmidt, is an early Alyson Wonderland publication full of whimsy and charm.
The first story, “The Frog Prince,” is about a boy, Nicholas, who discovers a talking frog. The frog informs Nicholas he is really a prince and needs to be kissed to be transformed back into his true form. Nicholas begrudgingly plants a kiss on the frog and it does, in fact, transform into a prince. The prince explains that his parents could be cruel and as punishment for a minor offense had permitted a wizard to experiment on him. Continue reading
The Dragon Thief is Zetta Elliott’s follow-up to her middle-grade urban fantasy novel Dragons in a Bag. Elliott’s second installment picks up where the first book in the series left off, taking readers on a fantastical journey through the culturally diverse streets of New York City as children and elders work together to bring balance to material and magical realms by returning a not-so-little dragon to its home and family.
Dragons in a Bag is told from the point-of-view of Jaxon, a clever and kind boy who discovers magic for the first time and learns to be courageous in the face of otherworldly adversity. Jaxon remains an important character in The Dragon Thief, but he is joined by Kavita, his best friend Vik’s little sister. In Dragons in a Bag, Kavita stole one of the three baby dragons Jaxon was supposed to transport to the magical realm, so he can only transport two dragons. Because of this, his mission is incomplete. In The Dragon Thief Jaxon struggles to find the third dragon so he can keep it safe and reunite it with its family. Continue reading
In Barbara Danish’s The Dragon and the Doctor (1971), Dr. Judy, a kind doctor with brown skin and curly hair, parties with a bunch of strange animals after helping a friendly dragon. The dragon stores objects, including roller blades, in her tail. Dr. Judy unzips the dragon’s tail, makes the dragon a bag out of a balloon to keep her things in, and is rewarded with a party invitation. The party is full of quirky animal characters doodled by Danish. At the party Dr. Judy helps Lucy, a yellow animal (perhaps a hedgehog) who has chicken pox. Dr. June and her dragon friend race Lucy home, where she is cared for by two moms. Continue reading
Published by Two Lives Publishing, The Different Dragon (2006), was written by Jennifer Bryan and illustrated by Danamarie Hosler. Hosler’s warm illustrations pair well with Bryan’s sweet story of a little boy, Noah, his sister, many pets, and two moms. Continue reading
If you or someone you know is over eight-years-old, you need a copy of Zetta Elliott’s urban fantasy Dragons in a Bag!
Dragons in a Bag introduces readers to Jaxon, a sweet and smart young boy with brown skin and unruly eyebrows. Jaxon’s father passed away and he lives alone with his mother who is estranged from her family. At the start of the book, the mother-son duo struggle to make ends meet and their landlord is trying to evict them. When Jaxon’s mother goes to court to fight the eviction, she drops her son off at the home of a woman she calls Ma. Jaxon reasonably assumes the surly woman is his grandmother, but family isn’t that straight forward in Dragons in a Bag – neither is anything else! Continue reading