Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Adam Gidwitz, Jesse Casey, Christopher Smith
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
Publisher: Dutton Books
Uchenna and Elliot are swept away by Professor Fauna to far off Basque where a dragon has gone missing! In an ancient Basque family tale, they discover that dragon's blood has the power to heal all wounds. This can lead to only one conclusion. The dragon has been kidnapped by the uber-wealthy Schmoke brothers. Using Elliot's intelligence, Uchenna's courage, and Professor Fauna's dedication to the magical creature cause, they discover more than the missing dragon and still manage to arrive home in time for dinner.
The Basque Dragon is an easy read with a rapid pace and slightly facetious tone that does not take the story or characters too seriously. This is a saving grace in a story that is intended to be just for fun. There is some educational value in the Basque history that is provided, but not enough to push this story to the level beyond “dependable.” Uchenna shows an enjoyable amount of courage and humor, and Elliot's fear of everything makes him relatable in spite of his genius. Professor Fauna is a bit too farcical about the responsibility of the safety of two minors and the maintenance of the entire magical world, but he can be forgiven for the humor that children will find in a goofy grown-up guide. This is a good read for entertainment purposes, just don't look too hard for anything more.