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Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

*Dragon Slippers* by Jessica Day George- young readers book review
Also by Jessica Day George:

Dragon Spear (Dragon Slippers)

Tuesdays at the Castle

Princess of Glass

Dragon Flight

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
Dragon Slippers
by Jessica Day George
Ages 9-12 366 pages Bloomsbury USA March 2007 Hardcover    

Things never, ever go as intended in a good fantasy novel. Poor, young, not-so-lovely Creel finds this out firsthand when her awful family hatches a plan, in which she finds herself as the bait in a trap to gain wealth. Dragon Slippers begins with Creel’s sad and seemingly hopeless plight: being handed over to a nearby dragon - and by her own family, no less!

The heroine of Jessica Day George’s story works at being clever, quickly thinking her way out of her dragon mess very carefully. The dragon, to whom her family has handed her over so callously in hopes of riches, is a collector. Not a collector of plain piles of gold, like many of the sillier dragons of legends. No, our aged brown dragon loves shoes: hundreds of thousands of shoes he hoards in his collection.

After making a deal with him, Creel’s long journey begins. She walks and walks, in search of a new life for herself on her own, without the family that would ransom her off to satisfy their selfish wants, and she has several interesting meetings along the road. Creel is a gifted seamstress with particular talents in unique embroidery. She hopes to make a name for herself in the King’s seat and finds herself friend to and a special favorite of the younger prince of the realm. Eldest brother, Crown Prince Milun, is affianced to Amalia. The Princess Amailia appears to be the spoiled, selfish daughter of a king in a neighboring land, seemingly being forced into alliance by way of marriage. There is much more than meets the eye with this one, as Creel soon finds out, by being right in the center of all of it, albeit unwillingly.

The language and general tone of Dragon Slippers is lighthearted, and original. “And with that, she smashed back out” of the back room. Using words like “smashed” is wonderfully descriptive, in terms of the character of the overbearing, selfish shopkeeper. Words that may be new to young readers are introduced in ways that make it easy to deduce their meanings. However, it isn’t so uppity that even younglings as early as seven or eight would have trouble with it. Children of all ages will enjoy this story.

The resolution, while entirely satisfying (may woe befall all fantasy books that end with no End), hints at a possible sequel. Well, we can hope anyway!

That said, Dragon Slippers is certainly fascinating and sure to engage even the most reluctant young reader. It would be quite an addition to a Halloween party or scout campout.

Chris Priestly has written several other books of fiction and nonfiction for young readers.

Young readers book reviews for ages 8 to 12 years old

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  Carolynn Evans/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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