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Review: Dragons Beware

If you haven’t met Claudette, the spunky redhead, from Giants Beware, you should take a trip to your local library or bookstore to check her out.  Of course, if you stumble upon Dragons Beware first, don’t worry about not having any back story; this is an entirely stand-alone story.  But whichever book you pick up first, you’ll definitely want to find the other one, because Claudette and her friends are memorable characters that you’ll want to keep company with.

Dragons Beware
By Rafael Rosado and Jorge Aguirre
First Second, 2015 ISBN 9781596438781
PBK $14.99, 155 pp.
Grades 4 and up

DragonsBewareThe story begins with a tale within a tale. Claudette regales her friends with the story of how her father Augustine forged the most powerful sword, which he called Breaker. But when he used the sword to fight the ferocious Azra the Atrocious, the dragon ate the sword along, with a hand and both legs, and he lost the battle—though her father denies that’s how the story went.

When Gargoyles start to attack their town, Augustine sets out to find his sword again. The children are left in the care of the Marquis, and that is when Claudette is determined to help her father fight Azra the Atrocious. She sets out alone but is soon followed by her brother and her best friend Marie, who save her in the nick of time.

This story is brimming with humor and adventure.  Claudette, her brother, and Marie are loveable characters.  Each is strong and spunky, with strengths that add to both the story arc and the adventure arc.

The artwork is delightful. The color often sets the mood, whether the colors are dark and ominous to hint at danger or light and bright to depict the humor and light moments that make this book so charming.

Take this book along on a summer vacation or read it poolside! Readers will be so engrossed they won’t even remember where they are.

This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © First Second Books.

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Esther Keller About Esther Keller

Esther Keller is the librarian at JHS 278, Marine Park in Brooklyn, NY. There she started the library's first graphic novel collection and strongly advocated for using comics in the classroom. She also curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ and School Library Connection (formerly LMC). In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics.

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