Dragons in a Bag

illus. by Geneva B. 160p. Random. Oct. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524770457.
OrangeReviewStarGr 2–5—When nine-year-old Jaxon's mother goes to court to fight an eviction order, she leaves him with a grouchy older woman she calls Ma. As it turns out, Ma is a witch, and she's been sent a trio of dragon hatchlings that she must return to their home. After a rocky start together and an incident with a glitchy transporter, Ma ends up stuck in the Mesozoic era while Jaxon is returned to Brooklyn to find help and protect the baby dragons. With the aid of Ma's network of friends, Jax manages to reunite with Ma in the realm of magic. A few loose ends leave this story open for future installments. Historically, most chapter books featuring magical tales of witches and dragons center the experiences of white protagonists and characters; Elliott offers something much needed in the genre: a black protagonist in an urban setting. Elliott skillfully introduces themes about creating positive change, examines issues of othering and the fear of differences, and touches upon the complexities of family, gentrification, and segregation.
VERDICT A promising start to a new series, this fantasy should find a home in all libraries.

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