Children’s Book Week review
Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee
This book is shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year 2022 – Younger Readers.
How to save a dragon:
1) Assemble equipment. Water, Weet-Bix, sugar, syringe, sticky tape, scissors.
2) Believe in everything.
Karen Foxlee has been a favourite of mine since she made me cry in a cafe reading her multi award-winning book, Lenny’s book of everything, so I was very excited to hear her speak at a conference last year. One of the topics she discussed was presenting ‘tough’ topics to younger readers, and the ways that authors can achieve this in an age-appropriate way. This novel does exactly that as it examines the impact of grief, domestic violence, and complicated relationships.
Pip is a ten year old girl living in an outback mining town with her mother and her mum’s controlling partner. She regularly avoids her house by exploring the nearby waterholes and creek beds where, one day, she finds a dying baby dragon. Pip’s efforts to save the dragon lead her to make new friendships, grieve the loss of another friend, and help her mother to find strength.
I enjoyed the style of writing – from the accurate descriptions of a hot, dusty, mining town and short, text-style Internet searches, to the realistic conversations between the children, or Pip and her mum. It is a beautiful blend of reality and fantasy. The layers of writing mean that this book is suitable for older primary school readers, right through to young adults and adults.
You can read the first pages of this wonderful book on Scribd.
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