There’s a Dragon in my Backpack!

Tiger Tales. (There’s a Dragon In...). Oct. 2019. 160p. Tr $21.99. ISBN 9781680101676; pap. $5.99. ISBN 9781680104455.
Gr 3-5–Eric has a secret pet: Pan is a mini-dragon who traveled to Eric’s house from China via a crate of bean sprouts. It’s all part of the story’s nonsensical whimsy that Pan somehow speaks perfect English, loves prawn crackers, and belches fire. When Pan falls into the hands of Eric’s nemesis, Toby, Eric and his friends must break into Toby’s snobby school to retrieve Pan. Readers will delight in the quirky characters: Eric’s mother is spacey, his teacher Miss Biggs is boorish and comically cruel, and evil Toby wears a wicker top hat as part of his school uniform. Eric narrates with humorous observations and wordplay that would make this title an entertaining read-aloud. Frequent black-and-white pen illustrations accented with messy splotches of watercolor add to the anarchic feel and may remind readers of Quentin Blake’s illustrations for Roald Dahl’s novels.
VERDICT Full of silly situations and characters, this is a great fit for readers moving on from similarly zany chapter book series such as Dav Pilkey’s “Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot” and Tom Angleberger’s “Inspector Flytrap,” or for fans of fellow offbeat UK imports Roald Dahl and David Walliams.

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