I won a print copy of this wonderful book in a Facebook event and I’m so glad I did. I’m convinced that we never outgrow a good fairytale and this charming book has the potential to be a classic. It has all the elements one expects in such a tale of make-believe including a sweet young princess, an evil wannabe queen, a somewhat ditzy king, an incompetent wizard, magic gone wrong, an adorable eternal kitten and, of course, a dragon.
However, don’t think that this is “just another fairytale.” This delightful story with its fantastic cover is even better than several classics in that the engaging characters draw you in and come alive. The dragon is delightfully complex, having his fire-breathing side coupled with a love for gold and jewels yet a tender place in his heart for a tiny, misplaced kitten. You love some, you wish really bad karma on others, and more than anything else you keep turning the pages as you navigate through a variety of surprises and plot twists in pursuit of the “happily ever after” part. The chapters are short and perfect for bedtime reading but don’t contain blatant cliffhangers. The suspense level is perfect, right in the “Goldilocks zone” of not too strong, not too weak, but just enough to prod your child into bed the following night to find out what happens next.
Of course any good fairytale includes a variety of archetypes which operate at the subconscious level and deliver a message cleverly disguised within the framework of the characters and plot. This one addresses several, such as the importance of not stereotyping who might be a potential friend when you’re down and out. There’s the usual concept that outward beauty does not assure goodness within as well as a few others such as innovative solutions at the hands of the most unlikely person can often unravel a problem. Inadvertent mistakes can hurt others as much as a deliberate blow, the smallest and most innocent deserve protection, dealing with homesickness and sadness when you miss a loved one, and the love that binds us to others are likewise incorporated skillfully into the story without being didactic.
Whether you’re a young reader, a child at heart, a parent or grandparent, pick up a copy of this book for a refreshing break you probably didn’t even realize you needed. And don’t forget to share it with a child you love.