68. The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke

Another book from the ‘I shouldn’t have bought books while waiting for a hair appointment’ haul.

Synopsis (as taken from the back of the book) is as follows:

So if you’re not an animal that’s alive today, and you’re not an animal that’s extinct either, what on earth are you?

Mari Jones is desperate to be a real scientist, even though she’s only eleven. So when she discovers a tiny dragon while fossil hunting on the beach, she’s sure she can find a good scientific explanation – as long as she can keep it hidden long enough to study it.

Unfortunately for Mari, this is one secret that doesn’t want to be kept. And as she starts to form a deeper bond with the mischievous dragon, she might have to admit that, when it comes to friendship, science might not have all the answers.

Ability to read – I found this a delightful book to read. It was charming and imaginative and had such a growth for the character of Mari. I had no difficulty when reading this book, I was able to immerse myself fully into the story from very early on. I understood the characters and why they acted the way they did and I understood the magical elements and that they were as much their own part as they were there to bring light to Mari’s life.

Characterisation – At the beginning of the novel Mari has her life figured out, she knows what she wants to do and accomplish and it’s really a straight and narrow plan with no room for deviation. Her character at the beginning of the book reminded me of so many scientists that my Dad has introduced me to though the years, people who are so passionate about their field of study that they really have no other interests or ideas about the world around them. During Mari’s adventure she meets her dragon and then she meets Dylan a new boy at school. Between the two of them, they both teach Mari a lot about life and how to enjoy it beyond a scientific experiment and we see Mari grow and change through the novel. I thought it was especially sweet to see Mari bloom so well and realise that there was more to life than just the plan she had outlined for herself.

Visualisation – It was very easy for me to visualise what was happening here. The settings were very distinguished and detailed and I was given enough insight into the characters to be able to understand their actions and visualise them interacting with each other and the setting around them. It was easy to let my imagination conjure up a dragon with the detail provided.

Uniqueness – There are a lot of dragon stories out there, the one that always springs to my mind is Eragon by Christopher Paolini. So a dragon story isn’t particularly unique but the incorporation of the dragon and the spin in which this plot took it was, I believe, unique.

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