Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate
Author: Henry Cole
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Twig is a young chipmunk living in a dystopian animal society based in a junk heap. Failing in all his classes, Twig decides to run away. He finds a dragon egg and becomes its surrogate father when the dragon hatches. With the help of the fire-breathing dragon, Twig suddenly excels at his Metal Craft classes. His professor is determined to prove that Twig is somehow cheating. Basil, a school bully, discovers the dragon and reports the truth to the professor, who then tries to enslave the dragon. Twig and his friend Lily rescue the dragon with the help of Basil and begin their journey to take the dragon back to his homeland.
This novel is a sweet story about friendship and finding yourself. Twig is a klutz who struggles to succeed, but learns that he is a talented sailor and natural leader. However, the novel does struggle in its writing, secondary character development, and plot. For example, the story’s bully suddenly becomes the protagonist’s friend with no explanation towards the end of the story; the plot lacks necessary details in the context of events, actions, and history; and characters overall are weak. Regardless, the novel should be enjoyable for young readers. Fans of Redwall by Brian Jacques will find this novel similar as it involves young animal characters and an adventurous story.