Title: The Dragon and Her Boy
Author: Penny Chrimes
Illustrator: Levente Szabo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Genre: Older children’s/middle grade fiction, Historical, Fantasy
Book format: Paperback
Description: When Stick discovers an ancient dragon trapped in a tunnel underneath London, he’s more than a bit scared. Nonetheless he decides to help her, if he can.
But after so long in a tunnel, the dragon is starting to think that even skinny, half-starved street urchin Stick looks pretty tasty.
And if Stick can avoid getting eaten, there’s a second problem.
How can he find a safe home for a very large and very grumpy dragon…when dragons aren’t supposed to exist?
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: This is such a brilliant story which made me quite emotional after reading it! It’s been a few months since Stick’s friend Fly has left London and he and the other tumblers experience something strange happening under the streets of London. The city feels too hot and something strange seems to be lurking beneath the ground, and soon some of the street children start going missing. When a strange man Stick recognises turns up nearby, Stick’s two closest friends disappear. Desperate to find them he ends up venturing below ground and comes face to face with a dragon.
This is such a wonderful story and the perfect sequel to Tiger Heart although this book is a complete standalone and you don’t need to have known what happens to Fly in that book to enjoy Stick’s story. The tale is set in the late 18th/early 19th century and follows Stick and his gutterling friends (street children with no home) with chapters alternating between Stick’s story and the other gutterlings who decide to leave London to find some of their missing friends. I really love what happens in this story and I instantly fell back in love with the gutterling language which I first encountered in Tiger Heart! If you’re not familiar with it, it can take a bit of getting used to but it’s not hard to soon work out what everyone means when they talk about ‘plum-duff’ ‘coves’ and ‘flummery’. There is a glossary at the back of the book with these words in case it is a little tricky to understand.
Stick soon comes face to face with a dragon under London and decides to help her. I love the dragon and how grumpy and moody she was. The way she and Stick end up talking to each other is very funny and I just love the adventure that both of them go on together and how we end up finding out more about Stick and his past as the story unfolds. The story is so good that I never knew what was going to happen. There are some dark and sad moments especially when it comes to one of the gutterlings and Stick’s past, but there are also wonderful moments too. As the story builds towards the ending I love how things work out for everyone and what we end up learning about Stick.
The ending is satisfying but also a bit sad. It’s definitely an ending that made me cry a mix of sad and happy tears. It feels like the perfect ending for the story though and I love how despite the sad moment it ultimately is a wonderful and happy ending. We find out something about Stick’s past and even that little bit where we learn his real name was magical! I just love this story so much and it has stayed with me since I read it a few days before writing this review. It’s one of my favourite reads and a perfect accompaniment to Tiger Heart.
There are a few illustrations on some pages which help add to the story and made the scenes in the tale more vivid in my mind. The pictures are in black, white and grey and I just love how all the characters look. The image of the dragon and the crumpets is one that I just love and that final picture at the end made me even more emotional! The cover has some lovely shiny green parts which make the dragon look more special. There are also a few author notes at the end and I am now keen to see that dragon in London (not a real one) for myself. It’s worth reading these as they explain when the book is roughly set and a few other things.
Overall I really recommend this book and also Tiger Heart where you can find out about Fly, Stick’s friend, and what happened to her. It’s as emotional and amazing to read as this book and both books are such beautiful and heart-warming stories, with perfect endings for the main characters. I really loved Fly’s story in Tiger Heart but I think this story about Stick is actually my favourite now, I only wish there were more books in this series and that I didn’t have to leave the world of the gutterlings and their adventures!
What do you think of this book? Do you like dragons? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂