Title: A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of HumansMiss Drake is still mourning the loss of her pet, Fluffy, when a small girl named Winnie shows up in her comfy lair. Miss Drake believes Winnie is entirely too curious to keep as a pet and, besides, she's not quite ready to replace Fluffy. Fluffy, we soon learn, was Miss Drake's nickname for Winnie's great aunt Amelia, who recounted her friendship with the dragon in letters to Winnie. But Winnie, in deference to her aunt, refuses to leave Miss Drake in peace and, before she knows it, the dragon has a new companion and a whole heap of trouble.
Author: Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder
Publisher: Random House
Pub. Date: March 10, 2015
Genre: Middle Grade
Rec. Age Level: 8-12
More by this duo: n/a
Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!
Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late.
I loved that this novel is from the point-of-view of the dragon, Miss Drake, rather than Winnie. The dragon is centuries old and her view of Winnie and the contemporary world, juxtaposed with the magical places and stories she recounts are amusing. Winnie's Aunt Amelia was Miss Drake's most recent pet, but she has had many, many more and her tenderness when reminiscing about them will feel familiar to every pet owning reader.
Though humans are pets to dragons in this book, they are also individuals; they are not kept by dragons. Despite each chapter beginning with tips and tricks for the care of your human, they are more friends and companions than pets. Winnie is young, but she and Miss Drake are more equals than not. Like in a more traditional friendship. they compliment one another and the result is heartwarming.
Of course, as one might assume when a dragon is present, there are some magical shenanigans afood. In the world of the novel, magic and magical creatures exist secretly beside humans. Miss Drake takes Winnie to a magical marketplace (think Diagon Alley) and gifts her with a sketchpad for her drawings. Neither realizes that the book will bring Winnie's drawings to life until they've leapt from the pages and out into the real world. Fearing discovery, the two must work together to return the sketchlings to their pages before their existence is discovered.
It is worth noting that the small illustrations throughout the book, including images of the sketchlings, as well as the cover art was done by Mary GrandPre. GrandPre was the original illustrator of the Harry Potter books, as well as the illustrator of the recent picture book The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock (one of my favorites!).
A Dragon's Guide for the Care and Feeding of Humans is a slim volume, but fans will be happy to learn there are more books planned featuring Miss Drake and Winnie.