Monday, March 2, 2015

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans -- Part I


A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans by Laurence Yep & Joanne Ryder, with illustrations by Mary GrandPre (for ages 8 to 12, Crown Books for Young Readers/Random House, March 10, 2015)

Source: hardcover copy from the generous authors

Synopsis (from the publisher): Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet--a ridiculous notion!

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie's sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake's combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem... before it's too late.


Why I recommend it: First, full disclosure. Once upon a time, in the late 1970s, I worked as an assistant to a young editor named Joanne Ryder in a major NYC publishing house. (I was "the other Joanne".) Fast forward a few years. I moved back to Pennsylvania, worked in a library, got married and became a mom. Joanne Ryder moved to California and married Newbery-honor-winning author Laurence Yep. Of course, Jo is also an award-wining author, with more than 70 books to her credit.

We haven't seen each other in ages, but I still correspond with her and we're Facebook friends. I miss seeing her in person (someday, Jo, someday), but reading her books is the next best thing. When I read in PW that Joanne and Larry were writing a book together for the first time, I begged for an arc. They did better than that. They sent me a signed, personalized hardcover. Woo hoo!

Of course, I worried. What if I didn't like it? How would I tell my old friend? Well, you can put your mind at ease, readers, because this book is adorable. It has everything you want in a modern-day fantasy for younger readers: humor, magic, and lots and lots of heart. Plus, not one but TWO spunky heroines. Miss Drake and Winnie made a formidable team. I love a dragon that drinks tea, uses a cell phone, and reads fashion magazines so she'll dress smartly when she changes to human form. And I love that Winnie isn't afraid of Miss Drake or any of the other fantastical creatures they confront.

Bonus: This book is the first in a planned series.

Favorite quote: A day at the fair could leave a dragon feeling two centuries younger.

Readers, be sure to come back next week for Part II -- an exclusive guest post from Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder, plus a giveaway!


24 comments:

  1. Love that title and can't wait to find this one. The author's collaboration sound like a winning effort.

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    1. It really is a winner, Greg. And I love the title too.

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  2. I love this from the title. And so awesome you know the author. I didn't realize you worked in a publishing house.

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    1. Well, it was a long time ago, Natalie! Hard to believe.

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  3. I love the reverse roles: Dragons having pet humans. Really original! I'm a Laurence Yep fan from way back, (Dragonwings); the collaboration sounds great, and how cool that you knew the "other Jaonne". I'm definitely interested in this book!

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    1. Isn't it an original concept? So well done, too.

      I loved Dragonwings and Dragon's Gate and (which are actually historical fiction and not about dragons).

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  4. This looks SO cool! I can't wait to read it... what an interesting twist on the whole dragon/human/pet thing.

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  5. OMG, that cover! The concept! I have to get this for my granddaughter. Well, I will read it first, of course. Thanks for telling me about this one.

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    1. I'll bet your granddaughter would love this, Rosi. Don't forget I'll be having a giveaway next week.

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  6. Absolutely brilliant concept! I can't wait to read this one, Joanne. It sounds like it is oodles of fun!

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    1. It certainly is, Michael. I've been wallowing in depressing YA recently so I may read this again just for the sheer fun of it.

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  7. I was drawn in just by the title and the beautiful cover. This looks like one my son would really enjoy. How cool that you know the writer personally, Joanne. I can't wait for the interview next week!

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    1. The cover really is beautiful, Jenni. Glad you're looking forward to next week.

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  8. This looks like EXACTLY the kind of MG fantasy I adore. I am definitely adding this to my must-read list!

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  9. It sounds like it has the same kind of humour and spunky characters as Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest books. I always loved those.

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    1. I've heard of those books, Kim, but haven't read any of them. Thanks for the suggestion.

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  10. One half of me is screaming: where has this book been? Why haven't I seen it before? How could I have missed it?
    While the other half says: Hello? Didn't you read Joanne's post? It just came out...
    Makes for an interesting time! LOL Thanks for the awesome recommend, and love the idea of catching up with a long time friend by reading their book! Makes my heart feel all warm and happy. :)

    --Suzanne
    www.suzannewarr.com

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    1. It doesn't officially pub until next week, Suzanne, so you may not see it in bookstores this week. Glad I made your heart feel all warm and happy!

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  11. I love the idea of this book. It sounds right up my alley. I am so glad to hear that you loved it so much and I definitely can't wait to get my hands on a copy. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. You're welcome, Jess. Love your enthusiasm!

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.