Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Search for the Red Dragon

I want to see Mr. Owen's outlines for these books. They are so amazingly convoluted in the way that so many characters meet up that he must do very careful planning on top of writing a rollicking good story. I was so excited when this book was returned at the end of the day, because then I could take it home and not feel guilty.

Nine years after their original adventure, Jack calls John and Charles to visit him in Oxford. He's been having horrible dreams that Aven is in trouble. Once the group is reassembled, Laura Glue arrives from the Archipelago with a message from Peter Pan (her grandfather)-- the children are being stolen from the Archipelago, and all of the dragon ships have disappeared! Laura Glue is supposed to deliver the message to James Barrie, a former caretaker who has forsaken his job because of the pressures of the real world. He stays behind, but the others, along with Bert, head off to find out what is going on. The Pied Piper, King Arthur, and the lost colony of Roanoke all make an appearance.

In reviews of this series, they are listed as grades 8 and up, and most reviews mention that the literary allusions make these books more suitable for adults than teens. I disagree. I think that, like all truly great children's literature, this speaks to readers on different levels. While I enjoyed connecting all the literary dots (as did some of my hard core fantasy readers), I've talked to students who liked the story but didn't have a clue that the characters were all based on preexisting real or fictional characters. They just liked the adventure.


Sean Ashby said...

I agree. A lot of Pixar movies are like that. The kids like the characters and the story, but there's plenty of jokes that only an adult would get (which is wise, because with movies, the adult general HAS to experience with the kid, unlike books).

But you know, I started the first book in this series but gave up after getting maybe a quarter of the way through. Not sure I remember why. You make me wonder if I should give it another shot. Hmm...

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