Saturday, August 21, 2010

Between a Roc and a Hard Place by Danny Birt

A quick note: This book was just released by an imprint of my own publisher, and is illustrated by the same artist who illustrated my own book. So I'm probably a bit biased in its favor. On the other hand, I did genuinely enjoy it.

Between a Roc and a Hard Place is a fun and unusual story about a dragon, Tephra, who's raised by a family of rocs--you know, the giant birds from Greek myth. Just after Tephra's mother lays her eggs, a band of humans come to kill her. She only manages to save Tephra's egg, but she's wounded in the attempt. She leaves the egg in a roc nest, where the birds accept it as a gift from the Great Stork and treat it as one of their own eggs.

The story's slight but sweet, perfect for younger kids who want longer books to read. The first part of the book concerns Tephra's childhood growing up among her feathered brothers and sisters. The second part takes place during Tephra's adulthood, when she determines what to do about the humans in the area--a clever solution that ends happily for everyone involved, including the humans. I would have liked more of a focus on how Tephra deals with her increasing wisdom and loneliness--she worries that she's the only dragon left in the world--which the book only touches on briefly.

Still, it's a sprightly, fast-paced story with wonderful illustrations by Richard Svensson. I would have loved it as a kid and I really enjoyed it as an adult.

B&N link
or order directly from the publisher

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