d'Lacey, Chris. The Fire Within. 340p. Scholastic/Orchard. 2005. Tr $12.95. ISBN 0-439-67343-0. LC 2004058327.
Gr 5-8This British import has a satisfying domestic reality, spiced with some very unusual dragons. When college student David Rain begins rooming at the home of Liz Pennykettle and her 11-year-old daughter, Lucy, he becomes aware of a variety of unusual happenings connected to the clay dragons that Liz creates and sells. As David slowly learns about the family's past and abilities, he has to decide whether to accept Gadzooks, the special dragon Liz made for him. Lucy's attempts to save the neighborhood squirrels from a scheming neighbor are a second plot focus. A fictional story David writes for Lucy about these animals mirrors real developments in their lives, creating an unusual story-within-a-story. In spite of the dragon's eye staring out from the cover, readers may not find what they expect herethere are no magical battles or world-spanning quests to be found. Instead, d'Lacey has created a realistic relationship among David, Liz, and the appealingly strong-willed Lucy, and his dragon's small size is mirrored in the limited magic it performs. Information about the dragons' past and the promise of further stories from David leave ample room for the sequel. Fire Within is a smooth read and an original addition to dragon lore.Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI