“There are only so many scorch marks and claw scratches it’s possible to hide. Or blame on your cat.” Surprisingly, Tomas has been concealing his dragon for some time now and his parents still remain oblivious, but with an illness in the family and the dragons growing up big changes are coming in this latest adventure The Boy Who Flew With Dragons, the third in Andy Shepherd’s series.
Following the events of The Boy Who Grew Dragons and The Boy Who Lived With Dragons, it’s not necessary to have read them beforehand, but be prepared to hang onto your hat and get swept away with Tomas and his friends, Ted and the twins Kat and Kai and their own dragons, Sunny, Crystal and Dodger, as well as Tomas’ own Flicker, and the newest addition to the brood, Tinkle, who has befriended Tomas’ three-year-old sister Lolli.
But dragons, even baby ones, are a lot more trouble than puppies or kittens, especially at a birthday party for thirty-three three-year-olds dressed as tin-foil knights and princesses armed with swords, Lolli herself predictably dressed as a dragon; equally predictably, chaos ensues at the village hall despite Tomas’ intentions to maintain a low profile.
Despite this, and possibly helped by the fact that they live in a rotating menagerie, their mother a veterinarian who is forever bringing home recovering animals, so far Tomas and Lolli have somehow managed to keep the dragons a secret shared only with their grandfather who made Tomas promise that when the time came he would send them on their way to their home, a promise Tomas is now having trouble keeping.
Shepherd’s storytelling is aimed at young but bright readers, full of enthusiasm and momentum, it is ideal for reading aloud to eager ears, though possibly not at bedtime if you have any wish of getting them settled with lights out at a reasonable time, the swift plot unfolding with the involvement of nosey neighbours, secret maps and diaries with clues to the origin of the dragons and nocturnal excursions on Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night.
Illustrated throughout by Sara Ogilvie, the pages bursting with smoke, sparks and singed corners, The Boy Who Flew With Dragons is about growing up and realising that life and people change, sometimes for worse, hopefully for the better, and that saying goodbye to someone you love is the hardest and bravest thing to do, even if it is also the right thing to do.
The Boy Who Flew With Dragons is available from January 10th from Piccadilly