Book - 2007
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When Jake Mendoza, who lives in the Smokehill National Park where his father runs the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies, goes on his first solo overnight in the park, he finds an infant dragon whose mother has been killed by a poacher.
Publisher: New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2007.
ISBN: 9780399246753
Characteristics: 342 pages ;,24 cm.


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Nov 28, 2018

Rare to have a nurturing male protagonist. Loved this book because of the profound connection between human and non-human.

Jul 08, 2014

this book really show you how a kid would feel if he had to become a mom and said child cannot bear to be put down. the author does a gorgeous job on communicating how hard it would have been to have a person bumping around in your head and you had no idea what It was.

Jun 22, 2014

I didn't really like this book. I found it a bit too... sporadic? At least, I couldn't get a grip on what was going on.

I didn't get through the whole book, and I may have been distracted, but I as a person did not like this book.

Oct 09, 2013

I really loved the realism of dragons in today's world, the difficulties of understanding and communication, and the overwhelming-ness of Jake's emotions and state of mind.

Dec 22, 2012

She does a wonderful job of describing the mind-splintering difficulty of communication between verbal and nonverbal intelligent species.

It's also a very droll social satire, in the style of Swift. Her observation of scientists' fear of appearing to be "Bad Scientists" is hilarious.

Oct 03, 2011

This book is so unlike the rest of McKinley's works but it is just as good as all of them! The way she describes the relationship between the boy and the dragon is so real, you'd almost believed she'd had a pet dragon herself once! It's a great read, a great story, with great characters, and very VERY hard to put down.

Sep 18, 2011

This book, while good, is very different from her other books. This is very much set in a real world, present day situation. There is no emphasis that this is in far away or long ago, but is rather told as a first person experience in our day. Good, but very different.

Aug 30, 2011

kind of disappointing actually; I've read almost all the other books by Robin McKinley, and they are so much better.

Apr 23, 2011

The plot summary sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Well, when you open the book, this is not the story you find, not for the first half of the book. It’s a narrative approach that stretched my patience almost to snapping.

When things start rolling with the discovery of the newborn dragon, the book is much harder to put down. Jake’s voice is still rambling – indirect from one chapter to the next, paragraph to paragraph, hopping across timeframes and topics.

Yes, (finally) the plot promised by the summary is delivered, and (by the end) very effectively: this book’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses as a whole. It’s just unfortunate that the strengths are virtually all back-loaded.

lms Apr 05, 2011

This deserves more attention. The relationship between dragon and Jake is so authentic - one of the best dragon tales ever crafted

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Red_Cobra_34 Feb 02, 2012

Red_Cobra_34 thinks this title is suitable for 11 years and over

Apr 23, 2011

bibliophage91 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


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Apr 23, 2011

Plot summary from the book jacket:

Jake lives with his scientist father at the Makepeace Institute of Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is home to about two hundred of the few remaining draco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild.

There are five million acres of the Smokehill wilderness, and the dragons rarely show themselves. Jake’s never seen one except deep in the park, and at a distance. But then, on his first overnight solo in the park, he meets a dragon – and she is dying. More than that, she has just given birth, and one of the babies is still alive….


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Apr 23, 2011

But even though I was dozing, I was aware that we kept going on and on and on - the sky cleared just in time to see the sun finish setting and then the moon rose, a blazing big full moon, and then it rose up farther and farther over us, and the stars wheeled along with it, and still Bud was flying, no racing, over the landscape. Whatever I pretend to understand about the laws of physics, I doubt that they’re all suspended for the flight of dragons, and I imagine something Bud’s size, to keep flying at all, has to fly at some speed. But it was more than that. Bud was pouring it on. The thrust – the bang - forward of each downbeat of those enormous wings had an almost audible THUNK about it, like feet hitting pavement; when I peered ahead the wind clawed at my eyes. We were on our way to whatever we were on our way toward as fast as Bud could take us. Although I would have had trouble throwing myself into the mouth of almost any other dragon.


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