Fans of How to Train Your Dragon will love this whimsical tale, the first in a series, by a Newbery Honor winner, featuring charming illustrations and pet "training tips" in each chapter.
Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!
Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late.
This refreshing debut collaboration by Laurence Yep, a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, and Joanne Ryder features illustrations by Mary GrandPré.
Praise for A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
*“Warm humor, magical mishaps, and the main characters’ budding mutual respect and affection combine to give this opener for a planned series a special shine.” –Booklist, Starred
“Aternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional.” –Kirkus Reviews
“With a black-and-white spot illustration opening most chapters, an engaging narrator, and a consistently fluid writing style, this title makes a fine dragon choice for readers.” –School Library Journal
“In this series launch, Yep and Ryder conjure up a world where dragons and humans interact, and the results are heartwarming and quite funny.” –Publishers Weekly
“A clever and amusing novel that imagines a magical world that nestles right up against our own and sometimes crosses over.” –The Bulleting of the Center for Children’s Books
Praise for A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter
"Yep and Ryder keep the magic coming with their whimsical fantasy, enhanced by Grandpré's sweet drawings. The story positively vibrates with fun." —Kirkus Reviews
" Lighthearted episodes of unusual school lessons and field trips, illustrated by GrandPré’s winsome spot art, are grounded by Miss Drake’s more serious encounters with the goons...a gratifying development as this buoyant, fantastical series continues."—The Horn Book Review
About the Author
Laurence Yep is a two-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. He is the author of over sixty books, including the bestselling Isabelle American Girl of the Year titles. Joanne Ryder has published over seventy books and received numerous awards for her nature writing and poetry. This is her first book starring a dragon and her first collaboration with Laurence Yep, who has many dragon books to his credit.
Read an Excerpt
If you value your happiness and sanity, take your time and choose your pet wisely.
It was a lovely funeral for Fluffy, the best pet I ever had. I was pleased by the turnout at the mansion. Mourners filled the large backyard and mingled as the sun finally broke through the San Francisco fog. Everyone had loved Fluffy. She had such a gentle temperamentquite the nicest of all my pets. Even when she was feeling out of sorts, she never bit anyonepartly because I had trained her well and partly because she wouldn’t hurt a fly.
She was such a special pet that I knew I could never find another one like her. I intended to bide my time, perhaps sleep for twenty or thirty years, until the ache in my heart had eased a little. Even then, I wasn’t sure when I would get another pet.
But Winnie didn’t give me any choice. Just two days after the funeral, she stomped into my lair. Without any warning, I heard a key scraping against the lock; then the door jerked open. The little creature stepped inside. She was the scrawniest of specimens, dressed all in black. Her very curly, every-which-way hair was light brown.
Putting a fist on her hip, she studied me, her glance flicking from the tip of my tail to my glorious head. “Are you really a dragon?” She sounded disappointed.
“Don’t be rude,” I snapped. “And how did you get the key?”
“Great-Aunt Amelia put it in her last letter to me,” she said as she strolled farther inside my living room. Amelia was the ridiculous nickname that the other humans used for my Fluffy. “It had directions to the hidden door in the basement.” She stared at me bold as brass. “She was afraid you’d be lonely.”
“Well, I’m not.” I held out my paw to the obnoxious creature. “So give me the key and go away.”
Instead, she circled round my lair, stopping by the Regina and the metal song discs. She looked curiously at the large box, which was some two feet on each side. Delicate wooden inlays created lovely pictures of coral and shells on its lid, front, and sides. “What’s this?”
“A music box,” I said. It had been a gift from Fluffy’s grandfather Sebastian, who had been fun when he was young but had become terribly boring when he grew older. Still, he had never been stingy, and the music box had been only one of many expensive presents.
She pivoted slowly. “I thought a dragon’s den would be different.”
“I dare you to show me a nicer one,” I sniffed.
She waved her hand at the floor in disappointment. “I figured you’d have gold and jewels lying around in piles, not a carpet and a sofa.”
“Have you ever tried sleeping on gold?” I asked. Then I answered my own question because I knew she didn’t know. “Gold is hard and cold, and as for jewels . . . well . . . the diamonds leave scratches on my scales that take forever to buff out.”
If this fussy little thing had had any manners, she would have stifled her curiosity, but she was obviously quite feral. She motioned to the red velvet drapes with the tassels of gold wire. “Okay, then why do you need curtains? You’re underground.” Crossing the room quicklyher shoes tracking dirt all over the best Bokhara wool, woven by a master weavershe jerked a drape back to reveal the painting before I could stop her.
“Huh,” she said, surprised, and then leaned forward to examine it closer. “What’s this doing here?”
Perhaps she had been expecting some oil painting by a celebrated artist instead of a child’s crude watercolor, but I wouldn’t have traded it for ten Rembrandts. A dragon with shining crimson scales soared into dark, dark clouds from which lightning bolts shot like jagged swords. A few years ago, Fluffy claimed she had found it at a holiday sale run by the parents of the Spriggs Academy students. She said that it had reminded her of me, so she had put it into a lovely gilded frameFluffy always had hd exquisite tasteand presented it to me.
And I’d been just as enchanted. The young artist had painted the red dragon with fiery eyes and a determined jut of her jaw as her powerful wings fought the winds. It was just the way every dragon should be.
“Get away from there,” I said as firmly as any dragon could. But she wasn’t listening.
She rubbed at the little spot of steam her breath had left. “The glass protects it. But even if I smudged it, I could always paint you another.”
I gazed scornfully at this preposterous creature with the unruly hair. “Don’t be absurd.”
She rounded on her heel. “I sent it to Great-Aunt Amelia four years ago.”
“It came from a school sale,” I insisted, but I was less sure now. I had never been able to break Fluffy’s habit of telling little white lies.
“Turn it around.” The creature jabbed her finger at the painting. “I wrote my letter to her on the back.”
I decided to call her bluff. “If your writing isn’t there, will you leave?”
She folded her arms confidently. “Sure, but I get to stay if it is.”
The painting hung from the picture molding that ran parallel to the floor and high up on the wall. I lifted the frame upward, unhooked the wires from the molding, and tore the brown paper from the back.
There, written with a pencil, were a child’s crude block letters:
DER ANT AMELEEA,
I LIKE YUR STOREES. MAMA REEDS THEM 2 ME LOTS.
It was signed: W.
A bony finger pointed at the signature. “The ‘W’ stands for Winifred. That’s me.”
“Fl” I caught myself. “Amelia told you about me?”
To her credit, Winnie traced Amelia’s name sadly. “I thought the dragons in her letters were imaginary. But I loved hearing them, and later, when I could, reading them myself. It was great when I found a letter in our mailbox.” She lifted her head to look at me. “Then her last one was sad but wonderful too. She told me you were real and where to find you.”
Fluffy, Fluffy, what have you done? She had told me that she was leaving the house to a niece and her daughter and had taken care of everything. I assumed that Fluffy had drawn up a will. I had no idea she had gone so much further.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Written from the perspective of a dragon, this fantasy adventure introduces the enigmatic "Miss Drake," a dragon who has been the patron (she cries pearls) of a San Francisco family for generations. After her last pet human passes away from old age, she's not about to have another pet. But then she learns that her pet entrusted all the secrets to Miss Drake's existence to her grand-niece, Winnie, an independent, stubborn, and lonely young girl who is determined to befriend the mourning dragon. Though they get off to a rough start, the pair begin to appreciate one another, just in time for catastrophe to strike: Winnie, a budding artist, accidentally animates her sketches, setting them free to roam San Francisco. It's up to Miss Drake and Winnie to retrieve the sketches, keep magic secret, and--when it comes down to it--save all of the magic users in San Francisco. This is an excellent fantasy novel (no surprise given the reputations of the authors!) and parents who grew up on Patricia Wrede's Dealing with Dragons series are sure to want to read this one alongside their children.
It is very boring if you don't like madeup things It is not very interesting