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Read aloud to your child, especially a child who is discouraged by his or her own poor reading skills. The pleasure o... More

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Author: Stacy Nyikos

Illustrator: Regan Johnson

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Publisher: Blooming Tree Press, 2008

Material: hard cover

Summary: After her parents died, Alex (11) and her sister Isa (6) moved to San Francisco and live with their aunt and uncle. With grief, loss, and a new home weighing on them heavily, the girls are having a difficult time adjusting. Each evening, Aunt Ling tells them the story her grandmother (Shen Po Po) told her about the dragons and their power to grant wishes. Alex takes every word to heart, hoping that her own toy dragon will help her grandest wish come true: go home to Oklahoma. This is a middle grade novel that explores the lives of two young girls. It will appeal to reluctant readers and teens struggling with reading skills.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 8 to 12; read yourself: 10 and Up

Interest Level: 10 and up

Reading Level: 3.6

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!®

Young Reader Reaction: Review pending.

Adult Reader Reaction: This is a wonderful, engaging story. Like Alex and Isa, the reader looks forward to learning more about the Little Girl who is trying to save mankind and the dragons. I was also anxious to get back to the book each day to see how Alex was doing. This is a poignant story that will resonate with young girls, because they have likely struggled to reach a point of acceptance and understanding for something that has consumed them. Mrs. Tran, the girls' sitter, is a wonderful character whose role is quiet but crucial.

Pros: Preteens and teen readers alike will enjoy this story that effectively weaves individual struggle with family relationships and growing up.

Cons: None!

Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is an exceptional book and would be a great addition to the multicultural library.


Educational Themes: This is an excellent choice for a book club or parent-child reading, particularly in a multicultural family. There are plenty of themes that can be discussed, from understanding and dealing with grief, finding your passion, teen relationships with adults, change, and family dynamics.

Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 6.4
The author donated an advance reader copy of this book to the Reading Tub. This is an unsolicited donation.he Reading Tub, Inc.

Literary Categories: Fiction - family, adventure, multicultural, time travel, death and loss, science fiction, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: January 2010

Other Reviews: No Critics Reviews found. See reader feedback at and


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