Dragons Beware! (The Chronicles of Claudette)
Jorge Aguirre (Author), Rafael Rosado (Illustrator)
Claudette is back for more adventuring and fighting evil again. And this time it’s personal! An evil wizard is back and the only thing that can stop him is Augustine’s magic sword…which is the belly of a dragon. So Claudette, Marie, and Gaston head out to find the sword and stop the evil wizard once and for all! But Augustine and Zubair head off on their own and forbid the children from following. And what do they do? Why follow of course! There’s no telling what trouble will be caused when these three are on the loose or what tables are overturned.
The first volume, Giants Beware!, broke all kinds of rules and boundaries–a young girl that was a warrior like her dad, a brother that was an excellent baker, and the daughter of the nobles that cared not a wit for princes, but cherished making intelligent decisions. And in this second book, they continue the trend of having a dragon that isn’t as evil as people think, a sword that isn’t what anyone thinks!, and a wizard that will blow your mind with who and what he is. It’s a great bit of writing and I enjoy watching the characters interact with each other and the world around them. They come to find out not only more about themselves, but their past as well, and how they’re going to let it influence them. We also got to find out some of the secrets that the town holds and I can’t wait to see the series continue.
I really like the artwork in this book, especially in the opening sequence. It’s a bit different than the rest of the book as it uses more muted colors and shadows, but it’s really well done.The rest of the book is done in brighter colors, still very well drawn, and perfect for a young reader. In fact the style reminds me a lot of Jeff Smith’s Bone, especially in the way the background and older characters are depicted. They have a lot more detail to them, more age lines on their faces, while the three main characters are almost less defined. It’s as if the artist is giving readers a chance to put themselves in the main characters places, making it easier for the reader to identify with them My absolute favorite character designs are Zubair and Claudette’s father, Augustine. I love the way they move while on their journey and the grizzle looks on their faces.
One thing that does bother me a bit about the writing in this book is that sometimes the words chosen don’t fit the age range of the book. I see the book as being for the elementary school range, but they use words like odoriferous or the discussion on politics at the beginning that just don’t fit that. While it would let the child come and ask their parents questions about what it means it just seems to be a bit of a deterrent to me for a young reader to really enjoy the book.
I’d highly recommend this book to any elementary school/middle school reader, especially young girls that are looking for a story where the girl isn’t a princess. I give the book 4 out of 5 stars.
ARC provided by Gina at First Second