The Language of Spells

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Book Information
Rating: Outstanding
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Garrett Weyr
Illustrator: Katie Harnett
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Year: 2018
ISBN: 9781452159584
Pages: 256

As a young dragon, Grisha is ensorcelled into a porcelain teapot. Grisha the teapot is eventually purchased by a man with an eye for magic, who sees that the teapot is a real dragon. Grisha spends years learning love from this man and his family until the time comes that he is set free. The last of the world's dragons are being summoned to Vienna shortly after WWII where some are put to work in the city and the rest disappear. In Vienna, Grisha meets a lonely little girl named Maggie and they become fast friends. Together they seek the fate of the missing dragons and must make a very heroic sacrifice to set them free. A sacrifice that they must make together. Grisha's special ability appears at last and turns out to be the unique sensitivity that he has for humans, especially his beloved Maggie, an ability that saves a bit of magic in this world.

The pace of the story is very slow and uneventful for the first half or so and both Grisha and Maggie are initially difficult to empathize with. The beginning tone is factual and devoid of emotion but evolves. When the two meet, the entire story warms to glowing as they become inseparable, compassionate friends and discover from each other the emotions and empathy laying within them. There are several worthwhile themes sprinkled through the story. The primary theme is compassion. The emotional ability to really feel another’s pain and willingness to put the need of others ahead of the self. This begins to occur at the half point, and the sullen and dull beginning make this transition all that it becomes; eventually leading to one of the most beautiful endings in fiction. This story will not be loved by every reader but it deserves a very enthusiastic five star rating with a cautioned that this one takes some effort to pry a golden acorn from its shell.