Top positive review
Disappointment in the New Illustrator and the Attitude of Some Characters - Cost This Book a Star ...
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2018
Tracey West introduces some new characters and a new dragon in her latest Dragon Masters book, “Chill of the Ice Dragon”. Mina, a Dragon Master from the Far North Lands, appears at King Roland’s castle seeking help. Mina’s wizard and dragon trainer, Hulda, is not strong enough to overcome either Vasty nor to recover Frost, Mina’s dragon Vasty now controls. The five Dragon Masters and the Wizard Griffith agree to assist her in rescuing King Lars and his court; the Ice Giant Vasty has frozen them all into blocks of ice. After convincing Rori – and her Fire Dragon, Vulcan - to join in the adventure, the seven young Dragon Masters transport to the Far North Kingdom. The battle against Vasty is exciting and the conclusion will satisfy fans of the Dragon Masters.
Short chapters make this book a manageable book for readers who are just delving into chapter books. The simple vocabulary makes “Chill of the Dragon” an enjoyable book for young readers. However, I found the repeated use of “yeah” instead of “yes” somewhat annoying. The less complex structure of the narrative allows young readers to feel a sense of accomplishment while reading the story without making them feel as if they are reading a “baby book”. The subject matter of wizards and dragons fascinate my grandson; he loves the Dragon Master series even though he is rapidly outgrowing its level of difficulty. On a positive note, the series has piqued his interest in dragons and mythical creatures.
“Chill of the Ice Dragon” no longer features Damien Jones’ black-and-white illustrations. His drawings, unlike the simplistic drawings in some other children’s books, these have depth, perspective, and dimension. Instead, Nina DePolonia provides illustrations that are less detailed; have less depth and dimension; and are not as impactful as Jones’ work. While children, who may have advanced to having chapter books read aloud to them at bedtime but who still want pictures to accompany the story, may find DePolonia’s work appealing, I prefer that even children’s books feature quality artwork. Nevertheless, I appreciate that Tracey West has decided to include illustrations throughout the book.
As exciting and engaging as other books in this series, the story is enjoyable for both new readers and as a read-aloud for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Involving both magic dragons and diverse, multi-ethnic children who are learning to become Dragon Masters, the stories stress the importance of following instructions – in the case of the young Dragon Masters, those of their Wizard mentor Griffith - and cooperating with one another to accomplish a goal. Rori’s and Mina’s confrontational and self-important attitudes were not appealing and did not comport with the overall positive message of the book.
If you are looking for a series of books that will interest early readers, particularly boys, you will want to look at the Dragon Master series. In order to fully enjoy “Chill of the Dragon”, your young reader should read the previous books in the series so they have some knowledge of the impetus for events in this book. Tracey West’s books are a wonderful way to encourage young readers. They are fun to read, contain enough fantasy and magic to appeal to children, and teach some good life lessons about cooperation, the importance of listening to and of understanding others.