Middle-Grade Review: A Dragon Used to Live Here by

 

About This Book:

 

Raise the drawbridge for a story-within-a-story melding classic fairy-tale trappings with contemporary, tongue-in-cheek wit, abundantly illustrated in black-and-white—a perfect family read.

 

Noble children Thomas and Emily have always known their mother to be sensible, the lady of the castle—if anything, a bit boring. But then they discover Meg, a cranky scribe who lives in the castle basement, leading a quirky group of artists in producing party invitations and other missives for the nobles above. Meg claims that she was a friend of their mother’s back when the two were kids—even before the dragon lived in the castle. Wait—a dragon? Not sure they can believe Meg’s tales, the kids return again and again to hear the evolving, fantastical story of their mother’s escapades (while putting their fussiest penmanship to work) and get caught up in a quest to reunite the onetime friends.

Kidnapping, fighting, a ferocious dragon, loyal elves, and true love . . . coupled with squabbling siblings, archery practice gone amiss, and ill-fated dives into the moat . . . This multilayered story blends adventure and humor, medieval tropes and modern sensibility, in a satisfying read for the whole family.

 

*Review Contributed by Jan Farnworth, Staff Reviewer*

 

A Tale within a Tale that is remarkable true.

 

What I liked:
A dragon used to live here is a children’s tale told in a story. Two noble children happen to shoot an arrow into the castle’s basement; for fear of getting into trouble for losing it, they knock on the door and ask for it back. What unfolds is a fantastical tale about their mother and an old friend, which involves details that the children are not so sure are accurate. The artwork that accompanies this novel is delightful and a perfect enhancement to a chapter book, perfect for early readers looking for a more extended read but not a massive amount of pages. This story is just over 200 pages long and is a quick, simple story.
Final Verdict:
The tale, of course, turns out to be accurate; a dragon did use to live there, mom did flake on her friend, and all is forgiven in the end. Just the way you expect a children’s book to go, a beginning, a conflict, and excellent resolution. Meg is a captivating and accommodating storyteller, and children will enjoy exploring with the children as they try to determine just how much of Meg’s story is true.

 

*Find More Info & Buy This Book Here*

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