GRAPHIC NOVELS

Shadow Hills

Little Simon. (Dragon Kingdom of Wrenly). S. & S.. Feb. 2021. 144p. ISBN 9781534475045 $17.99.; ISBN 9781534475038 pap. $9.99.
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Gr 1-5–A spin-off of the popular “Kingdom of Wrenly” chapter book series, these graphic novels follow young dragons Cinder, Ruskin, and Groth on their own adventures. Coldfire Curse finds Cinder flying to the dragon king to help save her father, and all of Crestwood, from an ice curse. However, it turns out that the king is human and the only royal dragon to be found is the prince’s pet dragon, Ruskin, who is more interested in eating bacon and breathing inferno pepper fire than in saving the kingdom. Still, he promises to help Cinder break the curse. In The Shadow Hills, the young dragons travel to a dangerous, dreary world, seeking enchanted lava rocks to counteract a gigantic fire storm. Adding to each conflict is a legend that scarlet dragons like Ruskin are either destined for greatness or cursed to bring ruin to the world. Only time will tell which future Ruskin will bring. These fast-paced adventures are intended primarily for elementary and lower middle school readers. Vibrant cartoon art and expressive characters quickly pull kids into the action, while the three- and four-panel pages make for quick reading. The young dragons face danger, but teamwork and friendship allow good to prevail by the end, though more trouble is always brewing.
VERDICT While this episodic simplicity may not enthrall more mature readers, it will likely appeal to elementary readers who are transitioning from leveled easy readers to more complex chapter books.

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