Thursday, October 25, 2018

Dragons in a Bag

Elliot, Zetta. Dragons in a Bag (#1)
October 23rd 2018 by Random House
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

When Jaxon's mother must go to court to appeal an eviction notice, she takes Jaxon to stay with the grandmother he has never met for the afternoon. "Ma" is not thrilled to see either Alicia or Jaxon, but agrees to take care of him. She has an odd, musty apartment, and it's not long before Jaxon finds a bag of dragons under her care! It quickly becomes apparent that Ma is a witch, and one of the problems she has with Jaxon's mother is that she didn't want to be a part of the magic. One thing leads to another, and the two travel back in time, run into Jaxon's friend, whose sister feeds and bonds with one of the dragons, therefore imprinting one of them on her. Jaxon also meets his grandfather when Ma is temporarily missing, and finds out more about the role that magic has in Jaxon's own background. The judge grants an appeal, but Ma invites Jaxon and his mother to live with her until things are more settled, leaving plenty of opportunity for Jaxon to accompany  Ma on more magical adventures.
Strengths: The Brooklyn setting is well described, and I loved the note that Elliot was a big fan of Ruth Chew! The illustrations are very attractive, and will help readers pick this one up. The inclusion of the eviction troubles adds some depth to the story and will be a mirror for some readers. Elliot usually writes Young Adult fantasy but has transitioned nicely to writing for the elementary crowd.
Weaknesses: The note on Ruth Chew also pointed out to me why this was more on the elementary side-- in Ruth Chew books, the children invariably have adventures without a parent or adult in sight. Jaxon's supportive adults are great characters, but middle grade would prefer to save the world without adult supervision!
What I really think: This is along the same lines as Yep's A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans which does not check out at all in my library, so I think I'll pass. Would definitely purchase for an elementary library, since I know that fantasy books have overwhelmingly white protagonists.
Ms. Yingling

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