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The Dragon of Lonely Island

The Dragon of Lonely Island

5.0 8
by Rebecca Rupp

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Hannah, Zachary, and Sarah Emily are spending the summer at their great-aunt Mehitabel's house on faraway Lonely Island. There, in a cave hidden high above the ocean, they discover a fabulous creature: a glittering three-headed golden dragon with a kind heart, an unpredictable temper, and a memory that spans 20,000 years. Transported by the magic of the dragon's


Hannah, Zachary, and Sarah Emily are spending the summer at their great-aunt Mehitabel's house on faraway Lonely Island. There, in a cave hidden high above the ocean, they discover a fabulous creature: a glittering three-headed golden dragon with a kind heart, an unpredictable temper, and a memory that spans 20,000 years. Transported by the magic of the dragon's stories, the children meet Mei-lan, a young girl in ancient China; nineteenth-century cabin boy Jamie Pritchett; and, in more recent times, Hitty and her brother, Will, who survive a frightening plane crash on a desert island. In this fluidly written novel, Rebecca Rupp explores what three children from the present learn from the past - and from an unlikely but wise and generous friend.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Dr. Judy Rowen
Hannah, Zachary and Sarah Emily must spend their summer in Aunt Mehitabel's house on Lonely Island; their mother needs the isolation to finish writing her latest novel. Aunt Mehitabel leaves them some cryptic instructions to explore Drake's Hill. Once there, the children discover a cave-properly a Resting Place for a three-headed dragon named Fafnyr Goldenwings. Fafnyr quickly puts the children at ease and tells them a story. The siblings visit three times and hear three of Fafnyr's stories; each tale has a lesson for the children. Readers who persevere through the first portion of the book will be quite enthralled once Fafnyr is given voice and the golden magic begins.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Because their mother needs a quiet place to finish her novel, the three Davis children find themselves spending the summer in a Victorian house on a small island off the coast of Maine. A mysterious letter from their elderly Great Aunt Mehitabel, absentee owner of Lonely Island, helps the siblings discover Fafnyr Goldenwings, a three-headed dragon that sleeps deep inside a cave on Drake's Hill. It can be prickly and fussy, but takes pains not to frighten the children, assuring them at once that it is a vegetarian. Over the course of the summer, each head awakes in turn and tells a story about children that the dragon had helped. It drove away invading Mongols from a Chinese girl's village, saved an orphaned boy from the clutches of evil pirates, and rescued a brother and sister marooned on a desert island-but only after the siblings learned to think for themselves. The children learn that the sister in the last story was actually a young Aunt Mehitabel, who offered the dragon a sanctuary on Lonely Island. The Chinese story has the tone of European tales of exotic Cathay and the other two are reminiscent of earlier children's books, when adventures were more jolly than harrowing. This smoothly written confection may be a tad bland and predictable, but it goes down as easily as an entertaining, light read.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Dragon of Lonely Island
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
710L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

They strode along, single file because the old path was so narrow. Sarah Emily hummed as she walked. Zachary paused every once in a while to check directions on his compass. Hannah dabbed sunscreen on her nose. Soon Zachary and Sarah Emily were hungry again-"I can't believe you two, after eating all those doughnuts," said Hannah-so they paused, just at the foot of the hill, for a sandwich (peanut butter and Mrs. Jones's homemade strawberry jam), a cookie, and a drink of lemonade. Zachary's freckles began to come out in the sun. Sarah Emily crumpled the last sandwich wrapper and tucked it back into Zachary's pack. "Let's go to the very top," she said, "and look for China."
"Wrong direction and wrong ocean," said Hannah. "Try France."
"Or Greenland," said Zachary. "Last one to the top is a rotten egg!" He grabbed the pack and began to run, bounding up the little path, winding in and out around scattered boulders.
Hannah and Sarah Emily-shouting "Hey!" and "Wait for me!"-dashed after him.
The hill was steeper than it looked. Soon the children were breathless, and one after another they slowed, panting, to a walk. They were hot, and the backs of Sarah Emily's legs began to ache. They staggered up the last few feet and collapsed, laughing, against the huge heap of piled rocks that formed the very peak of Drake's Hill. Zachary raised his fist in triumph. "Excelsior!" he shouted.
The view from the hill was spectacular. From their height, they could trace the coast of the island and gaze far out to sea. "I feel like I've just climbed Mount Everest," said Hannah.
"Let's get right up on top of these rocks," said Zachary. "Then we'll be able to see everything in both directions."
They scrambled up the side of the great heap of gray boulders, scrabbling for footholds as they climbed. The rocks were piled like giant jumbled steps. There were short heaving climbs-Sarah Emily, whose legs were short, needed to be boosted by Zachary and Hannah-then expanses of level flatness, then more steep climbs. At the last flat step, as they approached the peak, they came to a smooth, sheer wall, higher than Hannah's head, with not so much as a crack or a crevice in sight. "Let's go back," said Sarah Emily. "It's too high."
But Zachary refused to give up.
"Maybe we can get up from the other side," he said.
The step-more like a rocky shelf-curved around to the right, almost like a walkway circling the very top of the hill. The children cautiously edged their way around it. Sarah Emily, who hated heights, refused to look down. On the north side of the rock face, the shelf suddenly widened out into a broad platform, high above and overlooking the empty sea.
"Look at that!" gasped Sarah Emily.
"A cave!" said Zachary.
At the back of the stone platform, a wide gaping opening led back into darkness.
"Let's go inside," said Zachary eagerly, but Sarah Emily hung back.
"Let's not," she said. "There could be anything in there. Bears or something. And besides, it smells funny."
Zachary and Hannah sniffed the air. Near the cave entrance, there was a strange odor: the smell of charcoal and smoke, with a hint of something tangier, spicy, alien.
"Probably just old campfires," said Zachary. "Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Jones used to come up here and roast marshmallows." He peered blindly into the darkness, then turned to fumble in his backpack. "Just a minute," he said. "I brought my flashlight."
He switched it on and cautiously stepped forward into the cave. Sarah Emily and Hannah crowded behind him. The three children, clinging to each other, edged slowly inward. As they moved into the cave, the sound of the sea abruptly shut off, as though someone had thrown a massive switch. The cave floor seemed to slant downward into the hill, and inside, it felt enormous; there was a sense of soaring sub-
terranean spaces. Zachary's flashlight barely penetrated the gloom. "It didn't look this big from the outside," Sarah Emily whispered. Groping, they stretched out their arms, left and right, to the sides.
"Can anybody feel a wall anywhere?" Zachary asked softly. Nobody could.
"This place is simply huge," said Hannah. "The whole inside of the hill must be hollow."
"It feels endless," said Sarah Emily nervously.
The children shuffled forward, feeling gingerly with their feet. "There could be deep holes," said Sarah Emily. The strange sharp smell-smoke? sulfur?-got stronger.
"You know what I wonder?" said Zachary. "Where did this hill get its name anyway? Was the sea captain who built the house named Drake? How come it's called Drake's Hill?"
There was a sudden shifting sound from the back of the cave, a heavy sandpapery scraping noise. Then there came a soft hiss in the darkness-the sound of a lighted blowtorch, thought Zachary-and a red-and-yellow flare of flame. The interior of the cave leaped into light. Before the children's astonished eyes, a vast expanse of gold flashed and glittered. There before them lay a long reptilian body, curled comfortably on the cave floor, with a coiled golden tail, ending in a flat arrowhead-shaped point. Two eyes-sharp slits of jade green-glared at them out of the darkness.
"It is called Drake's Hill, young man," said a deep, raspy voice, "because drake is an ancient and honorable name for dragon. The hill is named after me."

THE DRAGON OF LONELY ISLAND by Rebecca Rupp. Copyright (c) 1998 by Rebecca Rupp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Meet the Author

Rebecca Rupp lives in Vermont with her husband and three sons, three cats, and a large garden full of heirloom tomatoes. Of THE DRAGON OF LONELY ISLAND, she says, "We once had an invisible pet dragon named Petunia, plus did an awful lot of childhood reading."

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The Dragon of Lonely Island 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My favorite story is Hitty and Will's it is nice my second favorite is Mei-Lan's the book is so good and the storys seem so real at least to me I think you don't have to be little to enjoy it I am 12 and I love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please put the next sentance or two as your review i will sstart. Adam lied down on his bed, exausted from the day before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read it with school so i thout it wold suck but it was fantastic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just warms my heart each time it is read. I swear I read it like a hundred times, but it always finds a way to wiggle into my heart and make it warmer.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book for Christmas 2003, and when I got it, I'm sorry to say, it did'nt look that good, but when I started reading it, I tell you, it's almost impossible to put down! A wonderful read, full of humor, adventure and a few valuble lessons. I'm in 7th grade and I loved this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has a sweet story to tell. A great read for anyone regardless of age. It teaches three inportant lessons that everyone needs reminding of from time to time. I highly recommend this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am eight year old girl and I enjoyed this book . It was real, it was enchanting and I loved it .