Saturday, April 19, 2014

Yoshiko and the Gift of Charms (The Land of Dragor) by Julia Suzuki

A long time ago in a land far away, there were humans, dinosaurs and and dragons.  There were even dragsaurs, a mix of dinosaur and dragon mating.  Then war came and when the dust calmed down, the humans were in one area and the dragons in another.  The dinosaurs and dragsaurs were gone.  And the dragons hid their world...

Ms. Suzuki sent me a copy of her book for review (thank you).  You can buy a copy now on Amazon.  This book is written for middle graders and the tale has a message about life.

When Yoshiko is born, his shell reflects several iridescent colors.  His parents notice but don't care; their baby is perfect.  The Hudrah dragon attending the birth brings her black basket up intending to take their child away, but Yoshiko's father convinces her that his son his normal with a nice cash payment.  It's an unusual beginning for an unusual dragon.

The dragons are all different breeds, are various sizes, and have different skills.  When Yoshiko is sent to dragon school, he's excited about learning how to use fire, how to fly and how to handle heat and all the other skills they learn.  The problem is that he is small in size and one of the larger dragon boys loves to make fun of him and ridicule him.  He almost lets that get to him.

One day when he flies away to think, he finds a dragon who has become a hermit.  That dragon tells him there's a quest for a special dragon and what those tests will be.  Yoshiko wants to fulfill that quest but he'll have to get stronger and in better shape first.  

As Yoshiko trains in his spare time between classes and bedtime, he also finds that he is having trouble containing his color.  At the worst moments, his color will reflect another breed.  He's different.  Can he prove that being different isn't bad?

I enjoyed this tale.  Younger readers will have no trouble with the text and the dragon world is fun to read about.  Why not get a copy and share it with your fantasy reader?  They might even want to draw some dragons for you.

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