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She knows how to define it, and how far it really goes. Not Knudsen. It just lets the writing speak for itself. The best fantasies out there are metaphors for realistic situations. The Dragon of Trelian does something similar. For our two heroes, each one is dealing with a different problem. His story is for those kids that want to do great things but may be reluctant to see how the basics apply.

Meg, on the other hand, has a story that is all about surrendering control. Puberty much, people? This is like Our Bodies Ourselves in the midst of pretty gowns and massive battles. Smart move. Boys often like reading about boys. Knudsen plays off of this.

The Dragon of Trelian (Trelian Series #1)

She wraps the boys up tight in the story. They come to get into the magical aspects and the storytelling. Then Knudsen makes a risky move. Before we even meet the dragon she brings up Meg not risky and her attraction to a young man named Willem quite risky. By the time Eragon came along, it was pretty much a standard idea. Speaking of which, if you know of any kids going through Eragon withdrawal, hand them this book lightning quick. A surprising little gem and a book worthy of your consideration. Be ready for this to surprise you.

Notes on the Cover: No offence meant to artist Antonio Javier Caparo, but honestly the only reason I picked up this book at all was because the author was Michelle Knudsen. I trust her as an author, even though the only other book of hers I had read was a picture book. The problem is that this dragon looks Photoshopped. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person.

Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name.

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Follow her on Twitter: fuseeight. Thanks for the details, it sounds great! Hear that sound? Ow ow ow ow ow. Many thanks for the catch! Yes, yes, yes!! Sometimes a kid just wants a good dragon book. And with its equal opportunity boy and girl perspective, The Dragon of Trelian is the kind of book that's going to appeal to all kids, at all ages, at all times. If they're fantasy lovers, of course.

Calen is in trouble. I mean, here he is, just an apprentice mage trying to spy on the incoming royal wedding party, and he gets caught by none other than the princess Meg. Since Calen's mage works for Meg's parents, this could be problematic, but instead the two kids strike up an instant friendship.

He's dealing with a master who doesn't think he has any talent and she Unbeknownst to everyone, she has inadvertently raised and bonded with a baby dragon. Now evil forces are conspiring to start a new war and kill Meg's sister and it's up to her, Calen, and the dragon Jakl who, I should note, can't even breathe fire yet to discover what they are capable of and how to save everyone they know and love. Is this a psychedelic groundbreaking fantasy that redefines the very heart of the genre itself? No, of course not. We're talking princesses, dragons, magic, and bad guys.

And there's nothing wrong with that. There might be something wrong with it if it was poorly written, mind you. Fortunately with Knudsen at the helm you've little to fear. Best known probably at this point for her remarkably popular picture book Library Lion , Knudsen has this little world well and truly at hand. She knows how to define it, and how far it really goes. Some fantasy novels indulge in complex maps and characters with names like E'ulseth and the like.

Not Knudsen. This is a smart tale that doesn't rely on tawdry glamor or shiny sprinkles to sell its concept. It just lets the writing speak for itself. The best fantasies out there are metaphors for realistic situations.

Michelle Knudsen

For example, Harry Potter taps into the feeling that all kids have that maybe they're special. Maybe one day they'll be told that there's a whole out there where they're famous. The Dragon of Trelian does something similar. For our two heroes, each one is dealing with a different problem. Calen's quest relies upon trusting in himself and actually going through with the work that it will take to become a great mage. His story is for those kids that want to do great things but may be reluctant to see how the basics apply.

Meg, on the other hand, has a story that is all about surrendering control. Jakl, with whom she shares a bond, wants more from her than she's willing to give. She doesn't like the idea of sharing herself entirely with something this wild and powerful. Puberty much, people? This is like Our Bodies Ourselves in the midst of pretty gowns and massive battles. The book begins from a boy's perspective.


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Smart move. Boys often like reading about boys. They'll read about girls sometimes too, sure, but generally they avoid anything that looks overtly feminine right from the start. Knudsen plays off of this. She wraps the boys up tight in the story. They come to get into the magical aspects and the storytelling. Then Knudsen makes a risky move. Before we even meet the dragon she brings up Meg not risky and her attraction to a young man named Willem quite risky. She's fourteen so that isn't ridiculous for the character, but it does mean that those boy readers who get squeamish around romantic situations are either going to plow through and get to the dragon or place the novel down, convinced that this is in the words of Fred Savage from The Princess Bride "a kissing book.

I'll be interested to see if that happens. I wouldn't consider it unwieldy either. Certainly with its child-bonding-with-a-dragon element it owes much to The Dragonriders of Pern , but that's okay. By the time Eragon came along, it was pretty much a standard idea. Speaking of which, if you know of any kids going through Eragon withdrawal, hand them this book lightning quick.

It's better written, edited, and imagined and may serve as the gateway book from rote fantasy to the good stuff. A surprising little gem and a book worthy of your consideration.

Be ready for this to surprise you. Ages 9 and up. This enticing middle grade fantasy is told in alternating points of view girl and boy , making for a page-turning read for teens of either sex. Wonderful descriptive language and strong and engaging characters complete the package. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Truly a lovely escape. In fact it stood neck to neck with some of my most cherished princess centered story lines. It wasn't overly jam packed and there were some predictable moments but it really was sweet to read nonetheless. Yes, I am a little bias because I am a Mom and Ms. Knudsen did a wonderful job of displaying a beautiful platonic friendship between Princess Meg and Magicians Apprentice Calen, but hey that in it's self is sooooo refreshing in this generation. I loved going along with the Truly a lovely escape.

I loved going along with them each time they left the secure boundaries of the castle walls to go on their dangerous journeys to visit with the Dragon. I enjoyed the well-developed connection that the Dragon and Meg shared metaphysically, and I also enjoyed the constant triumphs that were achieved because of the power of their friendship.

When Meg started experiencing those first flutters of romantic love, I was reminded of how important it is for a young woman to be very careful with guarding her precious heart.

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Although I prematurely sniffed out the betrayals that would lie ahead for her concerning the story line involving Wilem it did not prevent me from experiencing feelings of genuine sadness for young Meg when she eventually experienced her first heartbreak. Call me preachy but as a former teen counselor and a current teen mentor, it fit in perfectly with the realities that young people have to be careful and not rush so hastily into what they consider to be true love. They sometimes think we the adults in their lives were never teens ourselves and are just overly cautious with them when we warn them of this and this set a perfect example of what could happen when we trust emptions.