Publisher: Thistledown Press
Ages: 13 and up (in spite of what it says on Amazon!)
Varia lives with her family and a handful of other space colonists on a planet they call “The Kettle”. She might be 12, or 13 or 14. Because she spent several years on a spaceship getting to her new home, and time is different at high speeds, no one really knows.
One thing she does know is that her colony is in danger. Their food is infested by illness-causing fungus, the ship containing the other half of their colony, including all but two of the other children, disappeared on entry, and two of their group died of a horrible sickness shortly after exploring the forest around their base. Obviously, the planet is be hostile to animal life–after all, it has no animals of its own, except a few kinds of overgrown insects.
Then two things happen. A constellation that looks like a child falls out of the sky and starts offering them help–in return for letting it shrink them back into children. And Varia discovers the skeleton of a dragon in a cave, along with a brilliantly coloured stone. Could it be the dragon’s egg? And what will happen if she hatches it?
Varia will be tested as never before as she attempts to save her colony and reverse whatever it was that killed off all the planet’s animals. But to do so, she must figure out who is telling the truth: the mysterious star child or the secret-hugging dragon. Because they are at war with each other, and they can’t both win.
CM ,Volume XVI Number 38:
A well-written, sometimes confusing story that requires the reader to pay attention, Draco’s Child should appeal to lovers of speculative fiction. Draco’s Child takes a look at how our choices can affect more than just ourselves, but everything around us. — Ronald Hore Recommended.
Resource Links, Volume 15 Number 5:
Draco’s Child is very rooted in science fiction and fantasy — the book is dependent on a reader who can believe in the alternate world in which the characters are living. Plumb has mixed Star Children with Dragons and has done so successfully. While fantastical, the book is believable — the reader may feel that they understand why the settlers left earth and understand their troubles in learning to live in their new world. Varia and her dragon do get a little confusing sometimes and some of the situations in which she finds herself are disturbing. Yet the message that love can win over all and connections to family and to friends are the most important comes through and will teach the readers about loving and responsibility.
This book will appeal to science fiction and fantasy fans. Due to mature situations it is best for grades nine to twelve. — Alison Edwards
Thematic Links: Family; Fantasy; Dragons; Astronomy
Rating: G (Good, even great at times, generally useful!)
What If? Magazine, Fall 2010:
Sharon Plumb’s Draco’s Child successfully mixes the genre traditions of fantasy and science fiction to create a fresh coming-of-age tale. The author provides scientific details to make the plot and setting plausible then adds creative, mystical elements such as exotic plants and dragon eggs. The descriptions of settings are very vivid and easy to imagine, transporting readers into an intriguing but dangerous universe, while the diction and poetic language gives the story the quality of high fantasy and myth. Sharon Plumb also explores many strong themes, whether the quest for self-identity or the challenge of adapting to a new environment, whether an individual’s responsibility to her community or the existence of love.
I would highly recommend Draco’s Child, a thought-provoking novel that will leave a lasting impression in the mind of readers. — Lin Wang
Original, funny and haunting all at once. What a marvelous book! (Ramona)
Draco’s Child is a wonderfully complex read, taking protagonist Varia to worrisome and completely unexpected places, some of which invoke a keen sense horror, but which the author deals with in a sensitive manner. Plumb has done a fabulous job of world-building, down to the smallest sensory detail, which she invokes to keep the reader close-up and on site–in this instance, a sometimes-hostile planet being settled by humans. Quite a feat of imagination that takes us outside the box. (Alison)
I don’t usually read fantasy, but this book really intrigued me. Strong plot (a bit complicated, but that just added to my determined page-turning.) Lots of sensory detail and vivid, strong writing. Great book! (Gabriele)
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See more reviews at:
- Thistledown Press
- Prairie Books Now
- Saskatoon Star Phoenix (sorry, article gone)
- Saskatchewan Publishers Group (sorry, article gone)
Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof
Publisher: Scholastic Education
Ages: Grade 2 Reader; suitable for K-3 to look at on their own; for younger children if you are reading it to them
Bill Bruin wishes he could sleep through the winter like all the other bears. But he isn’t like the other bears; instead of making him drowsy, the cold keeps him awake.
So Bill does the next best thing: he has a hot bubbly bath. Except he can’t, because there is so much snow on his roof that his ceiling is sagging and he can’t open the bathroom door.
Out he goes into the snowy morning, armed with a ladder and shovel so he can clear the snow off his roof. But will he get it done before nightfall? And will Sammy raven help or slow him down?
This book is available to schools only, through Scholastic Education. It comes in a guided reading pack of 6 books and a teacher’s guide. If you are a school, you can order Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof from Scholastic Canada. Click on “Scholastic Education”, then type the book title into the search bar.
And if you live in Saskatchewan, you can see the author reading it on Access7 TV’s Bookworm’s Corner. The show airs Monday to Friday at noon and 3:30.