The Dragon Companion, by Carole Wilkinson

This little hardcover offering will delight dragon lovers young and old. Filled with dragon facts and stories, and sumptuously illustrated, it can be read cover to cover or dipped into and sampled.

The Dragon Companion is an encyclopaedia with entries ranging from short paragraphs on key dragons in mythology, to dragon stories of two or three pages length. There are also annotated diagrams highlighting key aspects of various dragons, and colourful illustrations. The letter plates for the alphabetic entries are divine, each entwined with a different dragon.

Author Carole Wilkinson’s passion for all things dragons has previously been made obvious in the award winning Dragonkeeper trilogy. In this encyclopaedia, she shares that passion in a new format. Illustrator Dean Jones has produced beautiful illustrations, and the hardcover format and touches such as gold font make for a truly beautiful book.

Suitable for ages eight to adult.

The Dragon Companion, by Carole Wilkinson
black dog books, 2007

Dragon Mode, by Sally Odgers

Reviewed by Kathryn Duncan

Every little boy has times in his life when he is in dragon mode and this is definitely no different in this wonderful book by Sally Odgers. Unlike real little boys, the main character knows what he does wrong when he is in dragon mode and that mothers, brothers, teachers and even the cat “don’t like dragons much.”

The illustrations are bright and entertaining and Chantal Stewart has done a wonderful job of capturing the emotions of each character – even in dragon mode, this little boy is rather appealing. Sally Odgers has kept the text simple and easy to understand for young children and uses repetition throughout to reinforce the two modes – dragon and boy.

As with all books, people will read different things into this story, but I found Dragon Mode to be about a boy being a boy (all little boys have two modes), and also about how children react to the behaviour of others. As the story progresses the main character appears in dragon mode when he is not getting the attention of someone, or when he does something they do not like. Maybe there is a message here for parents.

Dragon Mode is a book ready to become a favourite with pre-schoolers and early readers.

Dragon Mode, by Sally Odgers, illus by Chantal Stewart
New Frontier Publishing, 2007
HB rrp $24.95

Dragon Moon, by Carole Wilkinson

Everything was bathed in orange blight. The breeze rippled the grass. There were bushes covered with yellow blossom. The grass was speckled with purple bells and spikes of blue flowers. A stream cut its way across the plateau before it plunged over the edge and became the Serpent’s Tail. Long Gao Yuan was just as Ping had imagined.
A sorrowful sound broke the silence. It was Kai. It made Ping’s heart ache.

For more than a year Ping and Kai have sheltered at Beibai Palace, but now Ping knows they must continue their journey. Ping is the last dragon keeper, charged with the care of Kai, the last dragon. She must take Kai to safety, but where this safety lies is not yet clear. All she has is a message from Danzi, Kai’s now dead father.

Together the pair cross China, searching for the haven Danzi has instructed them to find. Along the way they encounter old friends, and many perils, but gradually Ping unravels the clues Danzi has given,. When they reach the dragon haven, Kai will be safe and there might even be other dragons to help raise him. Or are they in for more heartbreak?

Dragon Moon is the brilliant third and final instalment in the Dragonkeeper trilogy, by award winning author Carole Wilkinson. This superb fantasy offering will have readers from ten to adult enthralled, turning pages eagerly to keep up with Ping and Kai’s journey. The ancient Chinese setting and the wonderful rendering of the dragon characters carries the reader into the fantasy world that Wilkinson has created, suspending disbelief with ease.

The only negative about this book is that it marks the end of such an awe-inspiring trilogy.

Dragon Moon, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2007

The Red Dragon, by Andrew Lansdown

This is a gripping fantasy full of excitement, adventure and betrayal…

Colyn slipped his hand inside his shirt to touch the scar below his collarbone. The wound from the dragon’s tusk had healed up well, although it was still slightly tender. But the wound to his mind had not so easily healed…He would wake in a sweat, reaching frantically beneath his pillow for his knife.

Colyn, the Rykonc, bears the Kinrye knife of Klarin – the other-world where dragons are feared and slain. Stuck back in his own world, Colyn, longing for the adventure of Klarin, cuts a window between the worlds with his treasured knife and lures a small dragonette and, even worse, a rare red dragon, through to his world causing trouble in both worlds.

This is a gripping fantasy full of excitement, adventure and betrayal. While older readers might long for more, it is still a satisfying read peppered with lovable characters.

The Red Dragon, by Andrew Lansdown
Scholastic, 2006

Dragonkeeper, by Carole Wilkinson

In ancient China a slave girl who is told she is not worthy of a name witnesses the brutal carving up and pickling of a dragon. When the remaining dragon is threatened, the girl takes a chance and rescues him, fleeing her brutal master.

The pair are free, but a long way from safety. They must travel across China, evading a ruthless dragon hunter and protecting a mystic stone, the dragon stone.

This is a story of incredible beauty, with a delightful mix of fantasy and history. The dragon and his young keeper are created with such intricacy that it is hard to believe author Carole Wilkinson was not a first-hand witness to the events she describes.

Wilkinson’s earlier books were good – but this one, her longest yet, is simply brilliant.

Dragonkeeper, by Carole Wilkinson
Black Dog Books, 2003