Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
In the second of the "Dragon Keepers" series, Daisy, Jesse, and their young dragon, Emmy, must stop the evil St. George from taking over the forest. While walking in the neighborhood with Emmy in her sheepdog disguise, they notice odd sashes around some of the trees and in their neighbor Miss Alodie's front yard. They quickly learn that Miss Alodie is not fooled by Emmy's disguise and also has magical powers. Magic has returned with the birth of the new dragon and St. George has taken advantage of the opportunity. Jesse and Daisy, with assistance from Miss Alodie and Professor Anderson, plot to save the dryads, or tree spirits, and hobgoblins from the enslavement of St. George, the ancient Dragon Slayer, who is searching for Dragon Treasure in the abandoned mines of Goldmine City. In spite of the young dragon's delightful, but childish, behavior, Jesse and Daisy are able to free Queen Hap of the Hobgoblins from imprisonment in the willow tree's root ball and stop St. George from his control of the forest creatures. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Jesse, Daisy, and their dragon, Emmy, are back. The 10-year-old cousins are "dragon keepers," aided in their secret by Emmy's handy abilities. She's not yet able to breathe fire or fly, but she can disguise herself as a sheepdog at will, levitate, and make magic books fly. Her legendary foe, St. George, is working at a nearby college, in disguise. He's already stolen Emmy once, and in order to keep him permanently at bay, the threesome decides to steal his magic book. The choppy plot develops at a fast pace that involves rescuing another of the saint's victims, the hobgoblin queen, by finding the Golden Pickax. Enticing headings and black-and-white illustrations introduce each of the 10 chapters. Fantasy fans will enjoy flying through this series, paving the way for Christopher Paolini's Eragon (Knopf, 2003) later.—Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI
St. George the Dragon Slayer has enslaved the trees and hobgoblins in the nearby Deep Woods, and it is up to Jesse Tiger, Daisy Flower and their month-old dragon, Emmy, to put things right. Second in a series that began with The Dragon in the Sock Drawer (2008), this continues the adventures of the ten-year-old cousins and their shape-changing pet. Helped by their web-based consultant Professor Andersson, Miss Alodie, a flower-loving neighbor with supernatural powers, and a handy barn full of magical tools, they enter the network of mines underlying Goldmine City, meet Her Royal Lowness Queen Hap of the Hobgoblin Hive of Hobhorn and face the Dragon Slayer in his cavern. Chronologically told, the events move quickly to a satisfying conclusion that leaves room for further adventures. The most interesting character in this traditional tale is Emmy, an enthusiastic youngster who leaps off energetically but melts down with exhaustion after setbacks or a long day. Young dragon enthusiasts may start with this adventure but will surely be eager for more. (Fantasy. 7-10)
Read an Excerpt
An Ill Wind
Dear Mom and Dad,
It is still raining. The local weather guy says it's a record. Not as bad as India that time the Jeep floated away, but pretty bad. Our dog, Emmy, got tired of being cooped up in the garage. She got out and ran down the driveway into the street. Aunt Maggie went nuts! She made these poor guys come in the rain and put in an invisible fence. It's this underground wire that is supposed to keep the dog in the yard. One step over it and whammo, she really gets zapped. (Don't tell Aunt Maggie,but Emmy runs right over it anyway!)
Ten-year-old Jesse reread his e-mail. He hadn't included the information that the dog had turned back into a dragon for an instant the first time she was zapped, and that Mrs. Nosy-Britches, who lived across the street, was standing at her mailbox at the exact moment the zap happened.
"It's the oddest thing," Mrs. Nosy-Britches kept saying to anyone who would listen, "but I could swear I saw this very large lizard in the driveway across the street. If I didn't know better, I'd swear it was some sort of a dragon."
Jesse finished and sent the e-mail. He listened to the rain rattling on the roof and watched the slide show on the screen saver. The pictures were of him and his parents in some of the places where they had traveled and lived. Looking at it made him happy, if a little homesick for his parents and even the places: India, Africa, Costa Rica. . . . When he had first come to America to stay with his cousin Daisy, who was also ten, he had been so homesick that he had worn two wristwatches, one showing the time in the U.S. and the other the time in Africa, where his parents were. These days he wore just the one watch showing American time, but when there wasn't quite enough to keep him busy, like now, he missed his parents.
Jesse was just shutting down the computer when he heard Daisy scream out his name. He leaped up, tore downstairs, slid down the hall in his socks, and collided with the kitchen table.
"What?" he said, panting. "What is it, Daze?"
Daisy was standing on a footstool gazing out the window over the sink. Her long white-blond hair was tucked behind her ears, which were pointy like an elf's and bright pink with excitement.
"Jess, look!" she said, tapping the windowpane.
Jesse looked, but the panes were fogging up from Daisy's breath. "What are we looking at?" he asked.
"Don't you see?" Daisy whispered. "There and there?"
Jesse boosted himself up onto the edge of the sink, leaned over, and rubbed a clear spot in the bottom pane. He stared hard through the porthole into the side yard. Trunks and leaves and branches were all churned up into one great green swarming, sopping mess.
"Boy, oh, boy," he said, mustering some appreciation for the view. "The wind sure is blowing hard."
Daisy tugged impatiently at the hood of his sweatshirt. "The two trees, Jess. See them?"
"Which two trees?" he said.
She groaned. "Get down and let me look."
They switched places. Daisy pointed and said, "They're standing right there, exactly ten feet from the house. I swear, Jess, those trees were not there before."
Jesse shivered. "How can you tell?" he asked.
"Simple. There isn't either a Douglas fir or a quaking aspen growing in our side yard," Daisy said, getting down from the sink. "Plus they both have a bright strip of cloth or ribbon or something wrapped around their trunks. You can't miss them." Even though he had been living in Daisy's house for nearly six months, Jesse didn't know every tree in the yard. That was Daisy's thing. Her favorite saying was "Not knowing the names of the flowers and the trees is like not knowing the names of your own sisters and brothers."
From the Trade Paperback edition.