Saturday, May 27, 2017

Summer Reading 2017 The Dragon Riders

Flynn and Paddy, our brave dragon tamers, return for their third adventure. As their pet dragon, Elton John, grows up, the boys work on keeping him a secret from their mother and trying to figure out what he likes to eat. One day, Elton scoops up the boys and Coco and flies off with them to a dragon gathering. The problem is - only dragons are allowed, and the others don't like Elton's human family. What follows is a daring bit of aerial acrobatics and cleverness that saves the day and leaves the boys cheering.

James Russell's jaunty rhyming text swoops us up and carries us into the story. Parents and teachers will be pleased to see words such as excursion, promptly, gnashed, and plunged. Young readers will be expanding their vocabularies while they delight in the story. The last lines of the story mention "distant roaring" and we can see out the bedroom window that a dragon that (not Elton), is flying across the sky. Could these be hints of what lies in store for Flynn and Paddy? We will have to wait and see.

Link Choi's illustrations bring the story to vibrant life. Full color artwork captures moments such as Paddy's sooty face after the dragon turns the spinach sandwiches to ash, or both boys shoving against the door of the shed, trying to hide the dragon from their mother. There are also pencil sketches showing Coco glaring at his empty bowl after his dog food is eaten by the dragon, or the various expression on their faces as Elton John carries them off into the sky. My favorite scene is the boys and Coco grinning on Elton's back after he outwits and out-flies the other dragons.

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

Young readers will love having a new dragon story to read and re-read. This third adventure leaves us wondering what the boys, Coco, and Elton John will do next.

Highly recommended for ages 4+. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through edelweiss.

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