Thursday, July 29, 2010
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
There was just one problem...where was that beeping coming from?
The beeping, alas, is from Danny Dragonbreath's alarm clock, waking him from his magnificent piratical dream to the mundane reality of yet another school day. Not only is Danny always getting picked on for being the only mythical creature in his school (otherwise populated by reptiles and amphibians), but he has neglected to do his science paper on oceans, due today. Picking his nerdy best friend's brain doesn't help--all Wendell knows about the ocean is that it's big, wet, salty, and has fish in it. Danny gets a big fat red F and has to rewrite, prompting a visit to his cousin Edward the Sea Monster, who gives Danny and Wendell a guided tour of the ocean world.
Such is the plot of Dragonbreath, the first volume in a lively new series by Ursula Vernon. Dragonbreath's playful prose is complemented by many delightful pages of comic-style illustration, all done in a palette of green, black and white. The illustration reminded me a little of the Babymouse books, with its perky representations of anthropomorphized animals and their vivid imaginations. I would say that the reading level of the Dragonbreath series is just a smidgen higher than Babymouse, mostly due to the chapters of plain text. But the entertainment value of Dragonbreath is every bit as high...and that's saying something.
Ewan's favourite line: "AGGGH! The scurvy! It burns! ". Dramatic, yes?