February Book Buzz Picks - The Missourian: Newspapers In Education

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February Book Buzz Picks

All Fired Up!

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Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 3:56 pm | Updated: 11:57 am, Wed Sep 11, 2013.

Newsbee is “All Fired Up” about his dragon books, tales that scale the heights of imagination. If mythical creatures are your bag, you won’t want to drag your feet — check out one or two of these epic Picks. You’re sure to be flying high when you do, lost in the mythical world of wizards, kings and Quarkbeasts. Until next month, Page On!

Youngest Pick

“King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson,” by Kenneth Kraegel

Gotta love Henry Alfred Grummorson — the boy-knight turns 6 and launches a quest that would best any knight of the round table. You’ll meet the hero in “King Arthur’s Very Great Grandson,” written and illustrated by Kenneth Kraegel, who’s making his fairy tale come true with this princely pick.

Clad in armor and wielding a mighty sword, Henry swings by the resident dragon’s lair astride Knuckles, his dutiful donkey. When he arrives at the monster’s hideaway, Henry’s in for a shock. The dragon is as gentle as a kitty cat. Instead of breathing fire, he blows perfectly executed smoke rings.

Bummer. It’s adventure Henry wants, not tricks from a docile dragon. The boy states his desire, and the dragon urges him to “try the Cyclops . . . ”

Henry ventures on but too soon learns that ol’ one-eye doesn’t set his sights on knocking knee-high knights into kingdom come either. Neither do the other monsters Henry meets. In the end, the boy fails to rack up any battle wins but he does win the friendship of some unique buddies.

Young readers in the vicinity of Washington, Mo., on Friday, March 1, can meet Kenneth Kraegel, author and illustrator of this month's youngest Pick at the free community Family Reading Night at Washington Middle School.

Middle Pick

“Flight of the Last Dragon,” by Robert Burleigh.

Everyone knows dragons are the stuff of folklore — historical creatures from “Once Upon a Time.” But author Robert Burleigh knows better. He brings to light the story of the last winged wonder, one that lurked in the dark of a city’s underground belly. “Flight of the Last Dragon,” a picture book in verse with illustrations by Mary GrandPré, introduces readers to Ultimon, once a celebrated and feared adversary.

How sad that Ultimon now resides in the sewers, bedraggled and sad. But that all changes on the day the dragon hears a voice that urges him to rise from the ashes of his lonely existence — to spread his wings and cast his light over the city.

To onlookers’ wonder he does, flying higher and higher, brilliant and frightening in his splendor, Ultimon soars into the heavens, never to be seen again.

But wait, mighty Ultimon leaves a sparkling, linking symbol to remember him by. Look up and you might see him in the night sky — learn more in this enchanting book full of wonder and hope.

Oldest Pick

“The Last Dragonslayer,” by Jasper Fforde

A Strange girl and her quirky pet take readers for the ride of their life in “The Last Dragonslayer.” For those who like their fantasy laced with laughs, this read by Welshman Jasper Fforde won’t disappoint.

Jennifer Strange has her hands full managing an unusual group of sorcerers “and other assorted mystical artisans at Kazam.” Jennifer, an orphan raised by the Sisterhood, is a superlative “foundling.” The nuns deem her worthy of working for Mr. Zambini at Kazam as an indentured servant. Jennifer’s days are spent tooling around in a dilapidated orange VW with Quark, her loyal sidekick, a pup with razor sharp teeth and a testy personality.

Jennifer oversees jobs for the wizards and keeps order at Zambini Towers. She makes all problems go away. Until the auspicious day she’s called upon to take the last remaining dragon in the kingdom to task.

Mayhem and material madness reign supreme in a land where a king reigns badly and the threat of war looms. Readers won’t drag their feet racing through this book peopled with imaginative characters and a clever laugh-a-minute-plot.

Reprinted with permission. Missourian Publishing Company, copyright 2013.

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