The latest in the ongoing “Dragonbreath” series, this one begins when Danny’s mom is kidnapped by fairies, and he decides to rescue her, armed only with spoons, magical words and Danny’s great-grandfather’s assurance: “You’re brave and not very bright, which is the key to success….” Danny (who happens to be a dragon) also has the companionship of his two best friends, an iguana named Wendell, and Christiana, a lizard in possession of an outstanding vocabulary. Or, as one of the mean fairies describes them: “What a trio. A blind klutz, a great fire-breathin’ oaf…” and (as Danny describes Christiana) “a junior skeptic.” During the course of their perilous journey, they encounter six-inch fairies, birds in masks, miniature walking houses, a fierce-looking boar named Tiddlywinks, and a rhyming curse on Christiana, happily reminiscent of Fezzik the Giant from The Princess Bride: “Look, there’s something up ahead. I hope it doesn’t make us dead.” This is a delightful book, filled with imagination, twists, humor, and even SAT-worthy words like relinquish, antagonize and reverie. Vernon’s fun and abundant illustrations are a perfect complement to her writing. This book does come with a warning, however: once you have read it, you may find yourself desperate to read the others in the series.
BIBLIO: 2012, Dial, Ages 9 to 12, $12.99.
FORMAT: Middle grade