Thursday, May 7, 2015

The Flying Dragon Room (Audrey Wood)

The Flying Dragon Room
Audrey Wood, illustrations by Mark Teague
Fiction, YA Picture Book
*** (Okay)

DESCRIPTION: Patrick wants to help with the house remodeling, but everyone tells him he'll just be in the way. Everyone, that is, except the handywoman, Mrs. Jenkins, who gives him a very special toolkit. When the renovations are done, Patrick shows off the wondrous rooms he's built.

REVIEW: Another quick read during some slow time at work. The title grabbed me, and the idea is fun, but I just didn't feel this book delivered on its promise. The descriptions, both inside the cover and on the Amazon page, are misleading: the boy doesn't accidentally create anything, and he seems to know exactly what he's doing with Mrs. Jenkins's tools. Despite the whimsical illustrations, the sense of wonder seems muted, and there's no real adventure: he just leads his family from one bizarre room to another, ensuring that they're appropriate awed (but never in danger - even the T. Rex is conveniently vegetarian.) At one point, Patrick and his family are menaced by a giant beast... a beast that Patrick has to have built, as he built everything else. He solves the problem easily, leading me to wonder why he bothered leaving the beast in its original, dangerous state to begin with. As a possible spoiler, despite the title and cover illustration, don't read this book expecting to actually visit a "flying dragon room" in Patrick's creations; there's only a brief mention of it at the end. Color this dracophile disappointed... Overall, while it's an imaginative concept, I think I was set up for a story this book just didn't quite deliver.

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