Sutherland, Tui and Kari. Dragon on Trial (The Menagerie #2)
March 11th 2014
At the end of the first book, Pelly, the golden goose that keeps the Menagerie funded, has apparently been killed (judging from the feathers and blood strewn about), and Scratch the dragon is blamed. Investigators from SNAPA plan a trial, and not only could Scratch be exterminated, but the menagerie could be shut down. Zoe decides that she has to investigate, and with the help partially human Keiko and Blue as well as new kid Logan, she makes some progress. The group also discovers that Marco, a boy from their class, is a wererooster, and there are several children in his family who are werecreatures, but all of them are undocumented. Marco is the one who figures out that the feathers are too old to belong to Pelly, and the group assembles clues to find out who has kidnapped Pelly and why that person is trying to shut down the menagerie. There is another mystery at the very end of this book, and I already have students asking when book three will be published.
Strengths: Like Brandon Mull's Fablehaven series, this is a fun romp with magic, a librarian that may or may not be evil, children taking matters into their own hands to solve a mystery, and (of course) some fun magical creatures. Fans of the Warriors series and the Wings of Fire series will demand these immediately.
Weaknesses: Not my favorite style of books. Too many characters, not to mention Dragon dialect. Map at the beginning of the book! Still, I can see why these are popular with my students.