A rainy day. Two siblings. Their beloved dog. And...a dragon? Yes, Flynn and Paddy and their chocolate lab, Coco, are stuck inside due to bad weather. But when Coco is sent outside, she is carried off by a dragon while the boys helplessly watch through the window. Mom doesn't believe them, so the boys have to stage a rescue themselves. Can two small boys really vanquish a mythical beast and retrieve Coco?
James Russell's jaunty rhyming text swoops us up and carries us into the story just as easily as the dragon snatched poor Coco. Parents and teachers will be pleased to see words such as wondrous, brandishing, fearsome, and scampered. Young readers will be expanding their vocabularies while they delight in the story. But there is also a great message in their quest to rescue Coco, "...never underestimate a boy's ability." The brothers may be smaller and younger than the dragon, but they have their own skills.
Link Choi's illustrations bring the story to vibrant life. Full color artwork captures moments such as Paddy's cheek mashed against the window glass as he stares open-mouthed at the dragon flying out of sight, or the brothers gathering their supplies by night. There are also pencil sketches showing Flynn tugging Paddy's hat into place, or giving him a hand up the steep slope to the dragon's lair. My favorite scene is the last double-spread showing the results of the boys' efforts (I can't tell you what that is without spoiling things).
But beyond all that, there is even more. Using the AR Reads app, readers of all ages may explore the world of Flynn and Paddy's island in interactive 3D. The large map found in the endpapers of the book comes alive with motion and sound. The giggles of the boys, the whoosh of the dragon's flames, the roaring of a waterfall, all drift out of the scene. And we can see the dragon swoop in and out of view, the boys running down the mountain from the cave, or the flickering on the Ridge of Rising Flames. There is a video demonstration available at http://bit.ly/2eQbQeD.
Young readers who have enjoyed tales such as Dragons Love Tacos, This Book Is Not About Dragons, or Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library will love having a new dragon story to read and re-read. They will be even more thrilled to learn that this is only the first in a series of adventures starring these brave brothers. Don't forget to check out the Dragon Brothers website!
Highly recommended for ages 4+. I read an advance copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.