Tag Archives: Dragons

Ice Wolves (Elementals, Book #1) by Amie Kaufman

Through the use of two rugrats, Amie Kaufman has found the means to introduce a new world. In Ice Wolves, Book One of the Elementals Trilogy, twelve year old orphans, Anders and Rayna, are swiftly making their way over the garden-like rooftops, avoiding the increasing number of check points on the streets, to the town square where a large group has assembled, perfect for their daily antics. Pick pocketing is an indispensable lifestyle to ensure survival on the streets where Rayna distracts while her twin brother extracts some coins from the victims’ pockets. Unfortunately, circumstances necessitate a change of plan and the two find themselves amongst others their age reaching for the staff which will determine their fate. So far none that day had been successful in their quest to become a part of the Wolf Guard, so Rayna, without a family history (at least none of which she is aware), is stunned when she shape-shifts into the enemy, a Scorch Dragon. Anders, beside himself, reaches for the staff, expecting to follow her as the same, but instead he shape shifts into one of the revered, an Ice Wolf.

How can this be? The role of Ice Wolf is inherited while only traitors become Scorch Dragons. Anders must muster up all his courage and find his sister who he knows is not the enemy, even though as an Ice Wolf he is required to destroy the evil dragons. Assigned to Ulfar Academy, full of the luxuries (like food, clothing, and a warm place to sleep) his former way of life lacked, the shy Anders must learn all that he can to find a way to rescue his beloved sister. He develops some friendships in his pack where loyalty and obedience are a key requirement. Yet, where should your loyalty lie when you discover that there’s more to the story and the fight against the Scorch Dragons might be based on politically motivated disinformation and prejudices? All Anders knows is that his fealty will always be with Rayna, and his number one goal must take precedence over his role as Ice Wolf.

Ice Wolves follows the basic formula for preteen readers – youngsters (after discovering the deceit of adults) take it upon themselves to save the day. Kaufman has a talent for bringing the characters alive and connecting them to the readers who find themselves rooting for a successful outcome. This will definitely appeal to the middle school crowd, including some advanced elementary aged students, as well as those in high school. Its short length is a plus with an ending which will draw them into the next book of the series. Adults, once they accept the premise that twelve year olds rule, might also appreciate this well written tale.

Four stars and a thank you to Edelweiss for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Dear Dragon Goes to the Library by Margaret Hillert, illustrated by David Schimmell

Margaret Heller began her career as a first grade teacher and it didn’t take her long to discover that there weren’t too many books out there that her students could read independently, so in the 1950s she began writing her own children’s stories, including the simple retellings of common fairy tales and the introduction of the Dear Dragon series. These were among the first books with a controlled vocabulary similar to the Dick and Jane Readers.

The Dear Dragon Beginning-To-Read Series became very popular and numerous illustrators (Carl Kock, David Helton, and Craig Deeley) have taken their hand in portraying this loveable character. Dear Dragon is featured in books about holidays and seasons, sports, and visits to common locations such as the zoo or the circus. In the New Dear Dragon books, beginning in 2008 with Dear Dragon, A Is For Apple, David Schimmell has created an adorable version of this creature sure to appeal to both children and adults. In the most current book, Dear Dragon Goes to the Library, our pet dragon friend helps his buddy return a pile of books to the local public library where they join other children in listening to the librarian read a story, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, and drawing dot-to-dot pictures. Then they select some new books from the library shelves to borrow which they read together after they’ve returned home. Not only is this story readable, it presents the public library as an interesting and exciting place to visit plus it promotes a love for books. At the end of this story are some ideas for Reading Reinforcement, including Phonics, Phonemic Awareness, Vocabulary, Fluency, and Text Comprehension. There is also a list of the vocabulary from the text to review with the child.

Hilbert’s life spanned 94 years and her passing a year ago on October 11, 2014, is lamented by librarians all over the world. Yet she leaves behind a catalog of over 80 books which children today can still enjoy.

I wish to thank Netgalley and Norwood House Press for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Four Stars.