Ever felt picked on by bullies? Been pursued by a person with other motives in mind, like kissing you? Have you ever considered obtaining a dragon for a pet as a solution to all of your problems? Life presents Jeremy Thatcher with more pits than cherries in Bruce Coville’s Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book,
another entry in his entertaining series of “Magic Shop” books re-released by Magic Carpet Books. Though the idea of a dragon as a solution to his problems was likely the last thing on Jeremy’s mind, when he’s offered a mysterious shimmering multicolored egg by the strange old man who runs a magic shop that appears where it shouldn’t be out of the fog for the paltry sum of 25 cents, who can blame him for taking advantage of the bargain?
At the start of the book, Jeremy is having trouble getting a drawing he’s doing of a - what else - dragon to look right. He’s also not getting along well with his art teacher, Mr. Kravitz, who Jeremy thinks hates him, and he’s received an unwanted love letter from his classmate, Mary Lou Hutton. Of course, Mr. Kravitz reads the note to the entire class, greatly embarrassing Jeremy, and he doesn’t mention the sender’s name, saying: “No need to embarrass the person who wrote this by reading her signature.” Could the reason he doesn’t reveal the sender’s name be, Jeremy wonders, that “Mary Lou’s father was on the school board”?
To make his day even worse, a couple of bullies harass him after school, the time when Mary Lou’s letter said she was going to kiss him. Howard Morton and Freddy the Frog Killer chase Jeremy to hold him down so that Mary Lou can kiss him. This is the point in this Goosebumps-like novel (and series) when things start getting strange, the fog builds up eerily quickly, and the small town of Blodgett’s Crossing seems somehow bigger than it ever has before. Jeremy thinks, while running, I’ve never seen this street before. He spots an old-fashioned shop with a sign in the window that says:
Elives’ Magic Supplies
The mysterious old man with “long white hair” and wrinkled “walnut-colored skin” who runs the shop asks him what he wants there. One thing Jeremy spots as he looks around is a human skull labeled “The Skull of Truth” ( it plays an important role in another book in this series called The Skull of Truth). What really catches his eye, however, is “a shining, multicolored ball almost the size of his fist.” He doesn’t know what it is but asks how much it costs because he thinks it looks cool. The man ends up selling it to Jeremy, though he tells him he doesn’t want it. Jeremy asks him what he means by saying he didn’t want it, and the man answers: “You don’t. It wants you.”
S.H. Elives, Prop.
The ball turns out to be a dragon’s egg, and to get it to hatch, Jeremy is supposed to expose it to the light of the moon on Midsummer’s Night and recite a poem:
Full moon’s light to wake the egg,This is just the beginning of the fun in Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book. One good thing about owning and raising the particular kind of dragon Jeremy has is that it’s invisible to most people. A bad thing, though, is that the one person Jeremy doesn’t want to be able to see it, Mary Lou Hutton, is the one who can. Also, dragons are cute and don’t eat much or take up much space when they’re small, but their appetites and size rapidly increase - and their menu can include small household pets. This can especially be a drawback when you have several other pets, as Jeremy does, and when your father is a veterinarian, like Jeremy’s. This book is recommended for anyone who likes fun, entertaining books involving elements of magic and fantasy, and for fans of the other books in the Magic Shop series.
Full moon’s light to hatch it;
Mid summer Night will crack the world,
But St. John’s Day will patch it.