My daughter discovered Jessica Day George’s magical world of dragons while on vacation one summer. We were driving through Portland, and stopped at Powell’s Books to pick up reading material for our road trip.
Kate chose George's novel Dragon Slippers, and by the time we’d made it to the Oregon coast, she was mesmerized by the story of young Creel and her dragon friends.
This middle-grade novel is brimming with all the good stuff: a brave heroine, really cool dragons, an evil villain, and a kingdom that needs saving.
The story begins when Creel’s aunt comes up with an unusual plan to improve their family’s fortunes. What if Creel is rescued by a knight in shining armour, who will whisk their family away to live in a castle? Thus, Creel finds herself abandoned in front of a dragon’s lair, as her aunt fervently hopes that a hero will save her niece from the fierce creature’s clutches.
From the moment that the dragon awakes with a rumble and a plume of smoke, it’s impossible to put the book down. Creel ends up befriending the dragon, who has no interest in her aunt's silly plot. “I am old and tired and bored with all the foolishness that humans cause,” he moans.
Clever young Creel uses the situation to her own benefit. She convinces the dragon to give her some treasure that she can use to escape into the city and start her own life. She's sent on her way with a pair of slippers, but little does she know she's about to stumble into an evil quest for power. As she fights to save her dragon friends and restore peace to the kingdom, we find out just how much foolishness humans can cause.
The adventure is made all the more enticing by the lovable characters. You can’t help but cheer on Creel as she heads to the city to pursue her dreams of being a seamstress. There’s also the unforgettable dragons—Theodradus, Shardas, Feniul, Amacarin, Niva and Velika—all beautiful, majestic, thinking and feeling creatures with their own personalities.
When Kate finished the book, I picked it up myself and immediately saw why she was so charmed. Dragon Slippers blends fantasy, adventure, humour, and romance, all into a well-woven page-turner. There was no question of what we would read on the trip home—we stopped at the same bookshop to get the sequels, Dragon Flight and Dragon Spear.
And, we negotiated who got to read them first.
Two kids, two cats, and a house full of books. We share our favourite picks for young readers.