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Donn Kushner. Illustrated by Nancy Ruth Jackson.
Toronto, ON: Macmillan, 1987.
208pp., cloth, $16.95.
ISBN 0-7715-9515-8. CIP.

Subject Heading:

Grades 3-6 / Ages 8-11

Reviewed by Nancy Black.

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

This is a fascinating fantasy adventure about the life and times of a young dragon, Nonesuch. The story opens with Nonesuch's early life in a cave, complete with his grandmother and dragon treasure, in medieval Britain. This period of his life is secure and content. The hours are filled with his grandmother's stories. With the death of his grandmother, Nonesuch feels the need to leave the cave and search for his own treasure to guard. It is this quest that leads him to a monastery and the discovery of a very special book. For a time, he is trapped in a box with this book (an earlier incident has changed his body so that he can shrink or grow as necessary) and he sleeps undisturbed, guarding the book for many years while the box changes hands several times. Eventually, the box is bought by an American bookseller, who, upon opening the box, discovers the wonderful book and displays it in his bookshop. Thus, Nonesuch arrives in the twentieth century to guard this treasure and the bookshop from those with questionable intentions.

A Book Dragon is an absorbing, well-written book that should appeal to a wide audience, especially those who are fascinated by dragon lore. While it moves a little slowly in the beginning, the pace soon picks up as action, dialogue and characters become more interesting. Readers should be intrigued by description of dragon life and glimpses of British history: monasteries, the Black Death and the pastimes of a well-to-do eighteen-century gentleman.

The concluding chapters are an exciting, appropriate culmination of events and leave the reader satisfied with the outcome. A Book Dragon is on the list of titles being considered for the Saskatchewan Library Association's Young Adult Canadian Book Award.

Nancy Black, Saskatoon Public Library, Saskatoon, SK.
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