The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

4.5 23
by Tad Williams, Greg Swearingen, Deborah Beale
     
 

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Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they're in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.

The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering

Overview

Tyler and Lucinda have to spend summer vacation with their ancient uncle Gideon, a farmer. They think they're in for six weeks of cows, sheep, horses, and pigs. But when they arrive in deserted Standard Valley, California, they discover that Ordinary Farm is, well, no ordinary farm.

The bellowing in the barn comes not from a cow but from a dragon. The thundering herd in the valley? Unicorns. Uncle Gideon's sprawling farmhouse never looks the same twice. Plus, there's a flying monkey, a demon squirrel, and a barnload of unlikely farmhands with strange accents and even stranger powers.

At first, the whole place seems like a crazy adventure. But when darker secrets begin to surface and Uncle Gideon and his fabulous creatures are threatened, Lucinda and Tyler have to pull together to take action. Will two ordinary kids be able to save the dragons, the farm—and themselves?

Expert storytellers Tad Williams and Deborah Beale take readers on an extraordinary adventure in their first book about Ordinary Farm.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Paolini
“THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM is an exciting beginning to a new series. The plot is clever, the characters interesting and mysterious, and best of all, it has dragons! I can hardly wait for their next page-turning adventure.”
Terry Brooks
“There’s nothing ordinary about Ordinary Farm, a place filled with strange creatures and dangers around every corner. Readers will identify with Tyler and Lucinda and wish they were there with them. This is a rousing tale that should and will find a wide readership.”
Children's Literature - Renee Farrah
Tyler and Lucinda go to spend the summer with their great uncle Gideon whom they have never met. Once on his farm, they notice the peculiar people tending to it, as well as the creatures and secrets that were meant to stay hidden. As Tyler and Lucinda discover more about the farm, they also learn more about their family roots. Octavio Tinker, the original creator of Ordinary Farm and relative of the children, enjoyed science experiments and dabbling in traveling to other dimensions. An estranged family member, Ed Stillman, knows the secrets of Ordinary Farm and wants it for himself. Uncle Gideon refuses to relinquish the farm, as Stillman only wants to exploit the farm and expose its secrets. As the time approaches for Tyler and Lucinda to leave, they hope they can discover enough secrets to save humans, creatures, and the farm itself. But first, they must learn to become more humble and confident, and on their path to self improvement, they find out what it means to protect something as invaluable as Ordinary Farm. Heavy with description, some readers may not be able to hold out until the end of the book where new, more interesting plot lines surface. Reviewer: Renee Farrah
School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—When siblings Tyler and Lucinda are sent to spend their summer with distant relatives at Ordinary Farm, they soon find that the farm is anything but ordinary. The animals include a variety of mythical beasts, and even though the siblings have been sworn to secrecy, no one wants to explain to them how these unusual creatures and a variety of unusual human residents have come there. A magical library and its ghosts provide hints to the answers, but it's up to the children to put the clues together and continue their family tradition as the caregivers of Ordinary Farm. While they work to understand its secrets, Tyler and Lucinda also have action-packed roles to play in thwarting a rich businessman who's planning on taking over the property. Williams and Beale have created a gripping fantasy with realistic but appealing characters as well as scientific magic that explains the appearance of legendary creatures. Boy-girl protagonists and nonstop adventure make this a good choice for fantasy fans and reluctant readers of both genders, who will be left, like Tyler and Lucinda, looking forward to their next visit to Ordinary Farm.—Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI
Kirkus Reviews
An unremarkable fantasy dabbles in several genres as contemporary kids visit a strange farm. Tyler and older sister Lucinda, who alternate narrative viewpoints, depart sullenly for unknown Uncle Gideon's dull-sounding Ordinary Farm. Advance instructions provide rules to follow near fire-breathing cows, but the word "cows" has been superimposed over another word. Readers will correctly guess that the supposed cows are the titular dragons, one of whom is pinioned (cruelly, though the text doesn't acknowledge that) in the "sick barn" as she nurses an egg. Farmhands reveal some of Ordinary Farm's treasures (wild unicorns and other creatures), but many secrets remain hushed, and Gideon deflects the siblings' questions. Bold, plucky Tyler probes the mysteries by exploring, while Lucinda frets and lags behind, perhaps simply because she's a girl. A fault line leading to past centuries and parallel dimensions, plus a fairy-tale-like conjurer and her cold son, tack on genre upon genre until the structure feels slapdash. Implausibilities and simplified stereotypes of foreigners add to this series opener's mediocrity. (Fantasy. 9-12)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061543456
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
06/02/2009
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
853,481
Product dimensions:
5.80(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile:
880L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

What People are saying about this

Christopher Paolini
“THE DRAGONS OF ORDINARY FARM is an exciting beginning to a new series. The plot is clever, the characters interesting and mysterious, and best of all, it has dragons! I can hardly wait for their next page-turning adventure.”
Terry Brooks
“There’s nothing ordinary about Ordinary Farm, a place filled with strange creatures and dangers around every corner. Readers will identify with Tyler and Lucinda and wish they were there with them. This is a rousing tale that should and will find a wide readership.”

Meet the Author

Tad Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of some fourteen books for adults, which have been translated into twenty-three languages and sell worldwide. Among his bestsellers are The Dragonbone Chair, The Otherland Cycle, and Shadowmarch. Deborah Beale was a longtime editor of books for adults and children in her native London before she began her career as a writer. This is the first book Tad and Deborah have written together. They live with their children in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, with far more cats, dogs, reptiles, pet ants, and banana slugs than they can count.

Tad Williams is the New York Times bestselling author of some fourteen books for adults, which have been translated into twenty-three languages and sell worldwide. Among his bestsellers are The Dragonbone Chair, The Otherland Cycle, and Shadowmarch. Deborah Beale was a longtime editor of books for adults and children in her native London before she began her career as a writer. This is the first book Tad and Deborah have written together. They live with their children in the San Francisco Bay Area in California, with far more cats, dogs, reptiles, pet ants, and banana slugs than they can count.

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Dragons of Ordinary Farm 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Deborah_Beale More than 1 year ago
Dear Ms Szewczyk Over the years my husband and business partner (we have been working together for 20 years) Tad Williams has been reviewed by Kirkus for most if not all of his novels. The reviews are always the worst of anything that we receive. It's both painful and funny, being on the receiving end. The review for our juvenile novel, The Dragons Of Ordinary Farm, continues the tradition. I feel compelled to ask you, sincerely, when so many books are published in the world, why does Kirkus continue to give us attention? You guys hate our work. It's a pattern. It's not really my idea of criticism, it just seems to be relentless bile. Truly, hand on heart, why bother? I wish respectfully to ask you not to review us again. There are a lot of books that deserve thoughtful critical attention - a lot of young writers for whom a review in Kirkus could be a real boost. Please, in future, can you consider giving the space to someone who (in your opinion) might be more deserving of attention? Sincerely Deborah Beale
harstan More than 1 year ago
Their mom informs Tyler and Lucinda that they will send four weeks with the Pierho family while she goes on a singles retreat. Lucinda begs her to send them almost anywhere else though her choice would be dad; Tyler has given up the fight. A letter arrives from Great Uncle Gideon Goldring whom mom thought died a century ago inviting his great niece and nephew to spend time on his farm in Standard Valley, California. Mom informs the "King and Queen of Romania" that they will visit their great uncle for six weeks. Lucinda moans they went from fish smell to cow excrement; Tyler is silent. The farm is not what the kids expected nor is Uncle Gideon who seems distracted and panicked though they have no earthly idea why. The workers (Mr. Walkwell, Colin and his mom) are not welcoming. Tyler and Lucinda soon meet the not ordinary farm animals starting with a "dragon" cow in the barn and a griffin. Both wonder how no one has discovered the rather nosy unicorn herd. They meet other strange creatures. As an excited Tyler investigates what is going on and why Gideon seems on the verge of a nervous breakdown, he persuades his moping sister to join him on a trek through time and reality; not quite fully realizing yet why they were brought to the farm. The first part of this exciting fantasy escorts the young readers around the farm through mostly Tyler's exploration; Lucinda is still in an unlikable snit. This enables the older elementary school audience to meet the not so ordinary farm animals and the workers. That in turn sets the stage for Lucinda (having moved from sulk to awe) and Tyler's most excellent adventures that take up most of the fast-paced story line ending with a great climax. Young fans will want to join the outsiders on their incredible summer vacation (imagine how they will explain what they did when they return to school). Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hachis a rare dragon pops out of the shell and snugls with her.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Tyler and Lucinda are not looking forward to spending their summer with an uncle they've never met or heard about. And they're sure they'll be bored to tears when they learn their Uncle Gideon is the owner of Ordinary Farm. Their imagined summer of cows, sheep, and tedious farm chores is far from the adventurous summer they'd like. However, Ordinary Farm is not your average farm. The cow in the barn is an enormous dragon. The leaping sheep of the fields are unicorns. The chicken coops are filled with griffons and other mysterious creatures. The other outbuildings house magical secrets Tyler and Lucinda never imagined. The boring summer the two expected turns out to be the most exciting and thrilling one of their lives. Of course, it could also be their last. A sinister plot is afoot and it's up to Tyler and Lucinda to unravel it and save Ordinary Farm and its secrets. I enjoyed my trip to Ordinary Farm, and I loved spending time with the magical animals and wonderful characters in the world created by Williams and Beale. I am eagerly looking forward to more adventures with the characters and creatures of Ordinary Farm. This is the beginning of a series that promises further revelation and extraordinary fun, and I will be among the first in line to get my hands on the sequel.
haitquink More than 1 year ago
A great book for young and old alike. It felt a bit like Narnia meets Harry Potter, but in a completely original and refreshing way. All in all, an excellent read.
Jems More than 1 year ago
This has been the best book I've read so far this summer. It is written for kids, but, as an adult I ate it up like Ice Cream! It left me wanting more. Much more!
cyan More than 1 year ago
Authors Williams and Beale deftly mix action, adventure, mystery and humour in this perfect-for-summer read. The young protagonists, Tyler and Lucinda, are believable and engaging. The antagonists are plausibly motivated rather than gratuitously evil. The fantastical creatures are realistically dangerous, not fairy-tale idealizations. Best of all, the conclusion is exciting and satisfying, yet leaves plenty of mysteries to delve into in the next volume. Much fun! As a side note, that review by Kirkus makes no sense. It doesn't sound like they even bothered to read the book. And considering Ms. Beale's open letter, I wonder if such a review was written with malicious intent. Rather unprofessional.
kazul More than 1 year ago
A wonderful lesson in trust and belief, peopled with characters who spark the imagination. This is a fun read for all ages and especially for those of us who dream of dragons.