I love dragon stories, and today's fiction title is a wonderful book about the adventures that two children have when they find themselves in the company of a dragonologist. This book is a companion to the Dragonology books, a series of novelty titles that have delighted dragon fans of all ages for ten years now.
Dugald A. Steer
Illustrated by Douglas Carrel
For ages 9 to 12
Candlewick Press, 2006, 0-7636-2810-7
Daniel and his sister Beatrice are looking forward to their summer vacation a great deal. Their parents, who live and work in India, are coming to England to visit. When Daniel gets to Waterloo station, his sister is waiting for him with a letter in her hand. The letter was written by their mother and in it is she explains that once again, for the fourth year in a row, she and her husband cannot come to England after all. Instead of spending the summer with their parents, the children are to spend it with Dr. Ernest Drake.
Following their mother’s instructions, the children get themselves to Wyvern Way, a small street near Trafalgar square where Dr. Drake has a shop, which is called Doctor Drake’s Dragonalia. When they arrive, Dr. Drake is deep in conversation with someone, and the children have no choice but to wait until he is free. Feeling bored, Daniel explores one of the basement rooms beneath the shop, which is where he comes to face to face with an honest to goodness dragon. Dr. Drake catches the boy snooping and he makes it clear that Daniel should not tell anyone about what he has seen.
Later that day the children travel with Dr. Drake to Castle Drake, his country home, and the following morning Beatrice goes into the woods with Dr. Drake while Daniel studies Charles Darwin’s book, On the Origin of Species. While the doctor is away, Daniel cannot help snooping again, even though he was told to stay in the house, and he finds out that the dragon that he saw in the London shop is now at Castle Drake. Once again, the doctor catches Daniel doing something that he shouldn’t be doing.
Daniel and Beatrice soon learn that Dr. Drake is a dragonologist, a scientist who studies dragons. The young people learn that dragons are found in many countries around the world, but there are not a lot of them left and they need to be protected. Every summer, Dr. Drake trains a few select young people to become dragonologists, and this summer Daniel and Beatrice will be his pupils.
The children’s studies do not progress very far before they find themselves caught up in a very unpleasant situation. A man called Ignatius Crook has decided that he should be the next Dragon Master and he is doing everything that he can to get his hands on some artifacts, in particular the Dragon’s Eye, to achieve this goal. Since Ignatius Crook does not truly care about dragons, Dr. Drake has to do everything that he can to stop the man before it is too late, and Daniel and Beatrice end up joining in his adventure.
This companion to the now famous Dragonology books will delight readers who have an interest in dragons. The author not only gives us an action-packed tale full of adventure and misadventure, but he also helps his readers to understand the scientific process of study and why all creatures (including dragons) should be protected.