What We Found in the Corn Maze and How It Saved a Dragon

Little, Brown. May 2020. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316492317.
Gr 4-7–Three middle schoolers, with the help of a boy from a parallel universe, save not only a dragon, but an entire world. A notebook full of wordy magical spells brings together Modesty, Cal, and Drew. Together they use science and technology to figure out how the spells work, assisted by the Congroo Help Line, a mysterious entity that always seems to call at just the right time with an enigmatic suggestion. Then Modesty’s refrigerator door opens into the world of Congroo, and Preface Arrowshot (Pre for short), Third Apprentice Librarian, Second Class stumbles through. Modesty, Cal, and Pre end up back in our world, using both magical and scientific methods to stop Elwood Davy, creator of the DavyTron, a machine that can 3-D print any vegetable out of tomato juice—by using up every bit of magic on Congroo. But is Elwood Davy the real villain? There’s something for everyone here: dragons, golems, political intrigue, environmental concern, library- and bathroom-related humor galore, bad jokes, walking firewatch towers, and three strong, smart kids (Drew, the fourth, is mostly absent for much of the story) who fight hard to right a terrible wrong.
VERDICT Entertaining escapism with a little (home-grown) spinach tucked in.

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