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Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder

A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
(first book in the series)
by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder
illustrated by Mary GrandPre
Feb. 2, 2016 (paperback edition)
Yearling (Random House BFYR)

Fans of How to Train Your Dragon will love this whimsical tale, the first in a series, by a Newbery Honor winner, featuring charming illustrations and pet "training tips" in each chapter. 

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. 

This refreshing debut collaboration by Laurence Yep, a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, and Joanne Ryder features illustrations by Mary GrandPré.  


San Francisco is home to many magical creatures...not that humans notice much. Miss Drake, a refined and sensible dragon, has just inherited a new pet, the young and inquisitive Winnie. And Winnie and her mother have just inherited the grand house where Miss Drake lives, hidden in the basement. Miss Drake and Winnie, both believing the other belongs to them, start off a bit rocky, but soon form a strong bond. When Winnie is accidentally given a magic sketchbook, her drawings of magical creatures come to life and escape into the city. Winnie and Miss Drake must catch them before the magic is noticed. Humans most definitely make for time consuming and sometimes difficult pets, but Miss Drake has just the rules to follow!

Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder’s A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is a whimsical treat from beginning to end. Full of magical adventures, captivating creatures, laugh-out-loud humor, and two unforgettable heroines, this middle-grade read is simply irresistible.

With a pitch-perfect voice, hearty imagination, and sparkling storytelling, Yep and Ryder weave a consistently amusing and engaging story. Young readers will be dazzled and intrigued by the magical world hidden within the city and all its inhabitants. From a market in the clouds to shops run by magical creatures, a school matriculated by both magicals and humans, an Enchanter’s Fair, and so much more, this is a world readers will easily be swept away by.

I just adore Winnie and Miss Drake! They are both equal parts charm, feisty-ness, and cleverness. They have such an endearing bond and zingy interaction. These two marvelous gals also bring a great deal of heart and emotion to the story.

Winnie and Miss Drake’s wildly fun magical adventures are full of mishaps, mayhem, thrills, and triumphs. Young readers will be thoroughly entertained. And Mary GrandPre’s gorgeous black and white illustrations perfectly capture the story.

my final thoughts: A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans is both exciting and tender, funny and sweet, and shines as glittery glimmery as Miss Drake’s pearl tears.

5/5 cupcakes

Joanna Ryder is an award-winning author whose books offer a unique blend of poetry and science. Her innovative Just for a Day series invites children into the world of wild animals, ranging from a sea otter to Tyrannosaurus rex. Ms. Ryder says, "Children know that my books often ask them to imagine being a different creature. So they always ask me which animal I would choose to be. I'd be a flying one, I tell them. Or if I could, I'd wish for wings. And I've discovered children would love wings, too. But which ones to choose? I wrote Rainbow Wings to help us decide." Ms. Ryder lives in Pacific Grove, California.

Born June 14, 1948 in San Francisco, California, Yep was the son of Thomas Gim Yep and Franche Lee Yep. Franche Lee, her family's youngest child, was born in Ohio and raised in West Virginia where her family owned a Chinese laundry. Yep's father, Thomas, was born in China and came to America at the age of ten where he lived, not in Chinatown, but with an Irish friend in a white neighborhood. After troubling times during the Depression, he was able to open a grocery store in an African-American neighborhood. Growing up in San Francisco, Yep felt alienated. He was in his own words his neighborhood's "all-purpose Asian" and did not feel he had a culture of his own. Joanne Ryder, a children's book author, and Yep met and became friends during college while she was his editor. They later married and now live in San Francisco.



Batch of Books said...

YES! I loved this book too! I read it with my kids, and I think I liked it more than they did. But to be fair, they are under the recommended age bracket, so most of it went over their heads. I loved the way both the girl and the dragon viewed the other as a pet. I sure hope there will be more books with these two characters!

Dena @ Batch of Books

Brenda said...

Such a fun read, I too am hoping there will be more stories in the series. Lovely review.