Wednesday 27 August 2014

Night Sky Dragons

Night Sky Dragons by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, illustrated by Patrick Benson (Walker Books)
HC RRP $ 27.95
ISBN 9781406309850
Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

Co-authored by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham, this elegant book with its fine line illustrations in colours of the desert are presented on coloured pages. The story is reminiscent of the age of the Silk Road, and its caravanserais where merchant traders found shelter and safety, and carried more than wondrous wares, silk, and gunpowder.

Motherless Yazul waits for spring, the kite-flying season of warm winds. His grandfather’s workshop is his haven and where he learnt the art of building kites. Here the old man and the boy play games that involve dragons that appear when the gods are angry.

His father is the protector of the han. Business and money, travel and trade are his focus. Yazul will inherit this responsibility. But for now he is mischievous and curious, and prone to getting into trouble. It is during one of these mischievous moments that his carelessness causes his grandmother to drop the dish which tells the history of his people. This is seen as a bad omen. His father punishes him by sending him to the kitchens to work as a drudge.

He misses the changing of the season, but learns about the bandits that have come to attack their han. Finding no way to enter, they wait. Without water and food, it is just a matter of time before the citizens surrender.

It is Yazul’s ingenious idea that drives away the bandits. But there is one more act of reparation for Yazul to undertake before he can be forgiven.

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