Hear ye, hear ye! Fantastic news for Dragon Knight: Fire!, the first in this new series Dragon Knight by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley. It’s a finalist in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and I’m looking forward to reading the judges’ comments and following the book’s journey.
Vote now for Dragon Knight: Fire! in the #NZCYA Children’s Choice awards!
In the Dragon Knight series we meet Merek a “shape-shifting” dragon-boy who must keep his true identity (he’s a dragon) under wraps – let’s just say that dragons don’t enjoy widespread popularity in his village. However, it seems being a boy brings its own hurdles as our young hero finds himself wrestling with bullies, rogues and tribulations of childhood.
Complicating his life further, Merek wants to be a knight, a wish that proves not only tricky but perilous. As Merek faces these tumultuous forces readers can follow his adventures on a village map and chortle or puzzle over snippets of information interspersed through the narrative – the latter either offering respite from or extending dramatic tension, while summoning curiosity, challenging the young reader to discover if these curios are indeed fact or fiction.
Promising familiarity, cliff-hangers and happy resolutions – inherent in the series genre – Dragon Knight also pushes boundaries by its subversive elements which interrogate such grand narratives as subjectivity, gender and the concept of normality. Intertext adds further layers of potential meaning and destabilizing energies and, like Merek, the plot shape-shifts possibly upturning reader expectations.
Hugely entertaining, humming with claw sharp wit and scatological humour, enhanced by Bixley’s wacky, animated illustrations, this new series will make young readers laugh, gasp and squirm. Read them OUT LOUD – read them to parents, teachers, brothers, sisters, friends and pets (goldfish included). Brilliantly crafted, wonderfully funny with a colourful band of characters and a notable sub-text that explores just what it means to be yourself, titles in this Dragon Knight series will be eagerly devoured – and deservedly so.
Reviewed by Kay Hall
Dragon Knight: Fire! and Dragon Knight: Rats!
by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley
Published by Scholastic New Zealand.
ISBN 9781775432593 and 9781775432609