Wednesday 22 September 2010

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret written and illustrated by Briony Stewart
PB RRP $16.95
Early to Middle Primary
Reviewed by Jo Burnell

Briony’s sequel to Kumiko the Dragon hooked me in from the first page. With an economy of words, the dragon world filled my mind. Yellow lamp eyes blinked and a scaly tail dangled outside my window while a sensitive dragon swam like smoke above my head.

From an annoying little sister to Obaasan’s tea party, everything was easy to visualise. A bit too easy. I could handle the idea of shadow catchers pinning people down by their silhouettes, but the thought of their ability to absorb the power of dragon life from a child gave me the chills.

Briony Stewart’s black and white etchings together with her carefully crafted words weave a powerful product – one that left me dreaming of dragons and shadow catchers for quite some time after Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret found pride of place on my bookshelf.

I have only one small note of warning: Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret is perfect for the adventurous middle reader, but not for one inclined to nightmares.

Jo Burnell is passionate about hooking reluctant and struggling readers into the world of books. Her current project for teenagers looks at Juveniles in the Old Melbourne Gaol in the 1850s. Facts, Fictional Play Scripts and Faction recreate gaol life in early Melbourne in short easy read chapters.

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