Thursday, February 5, 2015

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer

The Dragon in the Sock Drawer
Kate Klimo
Random House, 2008  159 pgs.
Grades 3-5
Dragon Keepers Series #1

Ten-year-old Jessie is living with his cousin Daisy's family while his parents are working in Africa.  The two cousins are also best friends and love to explore and make-up magical games together.  Daisy's father is a geologist and "rock professor" at the local university.  When the children discover an unusual rock they bring it to Dad, who tries to open it thinking it is a geode filled with beautiful crystals.  The rock proves impossible to open.  Eventually, the true nature of the rock is revealed when a real baby dragon emerges and begins speaking to them.  They name their new friend Emmy (sort for Emerald) and its love at first sight.   The cousins search on-line to ascertain how to take care of dragons, when they are draw to a mysterious website.  The website is maintained by Professor L.B. Andersson, Doctor of Draconology, who speaks to the children through a wizard avatar.  He advises the new dragon keepers what to feed their new friend, how to take care of him, and basic dragon know-how.  Meanwhile, a creepy and mysterious man is lurking about watching them.  Jesse and Daisy manage to convince Dad that the dragon is a lizard and he lets them keep it, as long as they put up "lost signs", which are answered by creepy guy.  Creepy guy identifies himself as Professor Saint George, a lizard scientist, who claims that Emmy belongs to him and takes Emmy away.  Jesse and Daisy can tell that Professor Saint George is up to no good.  They must go to the university to try to rescue Emmy and then figure out how they can talk Daisy's parents into letting them keep her.  Finding a pet dragon isn't as easy or fun as you think its going to be, as Jesse and Daisy soon find out, but it makes for a great story!

This is a terrific choice for readers transitioning from chapter books into longer works of fiction. The chapters and book itself are longer and only one picture is included at the beginning of each chapter, yet the margins are still wide and the book is far from overwhelming.  Dragon in the Sock Drawer is a light fantasy with both adventure and gentle humor.  It will appeal to budding scientists, children who believe in magic, dragon and animal lovers, and children who want their fantasy within this world.  Having both a male and female main character make the book accessible to both.  Daisy's siblings are conveniently grown up, Jesse's parents are in Africa, and Daisy's mom is on a business trip, which leaves the children a lot of freedom to have their adventure and less characters confusing the plot.  Jesse and Daisy problem solve on their own, outwit the bad guy, and figure out how to care for Emmy. The cover is colorful and appealing, making kids want to pick this book up.  Klimo knows how to write for children and kid's will enjoy this volume from start to finish.  Best of all, once they finish they can go on to read the other five books in the series.  After reading The Dragon in the Sock Drawer kids will be scouring their backyards for dragon eggs hoping to find a new friend of their own.

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