The Dragon and Her Boy


Stick knows how to speak to the dragon he finds trapped beneath Smithfields Market. He realises that she is scared, trapped- and vain. Thereafter he tends to her wounds and encourages her out of her confinement. Yet in doing so he’s reminded of what he left many years before he became leader to the gutterlings. Now he and the others live on the edges of the London streets, making a living of sorts from cartwheels and odds and ends. The Bartholomew Fair is an ideal time to earn a little more and fill their bellies with sausages and the like. However, this year, it’s not only the oppressive heat that’s misdirecting visitors and causing upheavals. It’s this unease that leads Stick to the dragon, and thereafter on a chase to find his missing friends.

However, the journey of The Dragon and Her Boy will force Stick to return to the horror of what he left and confront the child he was. It seems only Fly whose Tiger Heart provided Stick a refuge from his terrors, glimpsed an infancy Stick sought to forget. Can Stick face these memories anew? Thereafter, can he chase them down and take on those who denied him a fair and loving childhood, and would do the same to other children? Then there’s the dragon. It seems Stick is her lifeline to escape and reconciliation.

Confident middle grade readers are recommended The Dragon and Her Boy hugely. This is such a rich, dense, beautifully realised story.

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The Dragon and Her Boy

Penny Chrimes

With illustrations by Levente Szabo


The Dragon and Her Boy meet under Smithfields Market about the time of the Bartholomew Fair. Yet this celebration is unlike any that can be remembered. For a start, it does not feel very celebratory. It seems that the Great City of London is particularly odiferous. What’s more, there are upheavals and kerfuffles such that put passers by off the exhibits. it means that Stick and Spud and Sparrow and the other gutterlings have little to show for their cartwheeling.
Since Fly left the group, as told in Tiger Heart, Stick has felt absent. Not only did Fly soothe his anxieties, but she asked little of him. It seems that without her, he is suddenly the leader of the group. Therefore, when he is rattled by what is going on around the city, the group feels agitated. Furthermore, when events after the Punch and Judy show reveal a face from Stick’s terrified past, we know that the air of fear, is justified. What does Sir Jasper have to do with Stick. Then again, why is he in London? Finally, can Stick confront his past and rectify what he ran from? It seems that in doing so he will avenge a terrible wrong done to a dragon only he can hear. Furthermore, it will reveal his truth.
Bookwagon loved the pace and depth of Tiger Heart. Like its predecessor, The Dragon and Her Boy is anchored in the sights, smells and lore of London. Yet, like that book, this one soars beyond, to the countryside, where the gutterlings learn that cows make milk and bread is baked. However there are even bigger journeys to be taken too, along forgotten waterways, through ancient promises and legend, and then into stories and memories long buried. London’s Last Bartholomew’s Fair



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