The boys glanced from side to side as they stole slowly through the straggly shrubs and weeds into the backyard. The house gave out strange vibes. Even though it looked dead, it seemed to send out messages that it might reach out and grab you. A creepy feeling spread over the boys’ skin the entire time they were in Mr Cooper’s yard.
Mr Cooper’s house has stood empty ever since he died – covered in vines and gradually falling apart. Fozzy and Josh are scared of the house, but can’t resist the mangoes which grow on a tree in the back yard. On one of their visits, however, they discover that the house is no longer empty. A teenage boy has moved in.
The boys soon become friends with Zen, a runaway who is making the house his new home. Zen helps them work on an entry for a school science competition and the boys provide Zen with companionship and, occasionally, a fresh sandwich. At first Fozzy and Josh think that Zen is lucky to live by himself, but gradually they come to realise that not everything is as good as it seems.
Silence the Dragon is fun novel for 10 to 12 year olds, with a recommended reading age of about 11. The story focusses on friendship and loyalty, as well as family and responsibilty, in a way which is fun and non-preachy.
Silence the Dragon is a green level title in the new Breakers series from Macmillan Education. It is suitable as a classroom reader or for private enjoyment.
Silence the Dragon, by Pamela Graham
Macmillan education, 2004