Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Review - Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
Short review: A fun, but not particularly noteworthy story about a boy who hatches a dragon's egg and raises a baby dragon.
Jeremy likes art
Then he gets a dragon egg
And learns to like girls
Full review: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is part of the Magic Shop series of books for young readers. The central character of the story is Jeremy Thatcher, an artistically inclined sixth grader who has the misfortune of being both small for his age and apparently cute enough that Mary Lou Hutton wants to kiss him - a prospect he finds horrifying. Despite his artistic talent, Jeremy is convinced that his art teacher hates him.
While fleeing from the proffered kisses of Mary Lou, Jeremy winds up on a street he doesn't recognize and wanders into the magic shop. Once there, he unknowingly buys a dragon egg, and begins the magical portion of the story. After he gets home, Jeremy finds instructions on how to hatch the egg, and later, how to raise his new baby dragon. Jeremy has to research dragons (with the help of a friendly librarian), come up with food to feed his new charge, and try to keep his new companion a secret.
As with most Magic Shop books, the addition of the dragon is presumably to help Jeremy learn something, but that element of this book seems to be somewhat poorly developed. There is a parallel between Jeremy having to give up on winning a school art contest and having to give up the dragon when it grows too large to continue to keep. There is also a related parallel between learning to love the dragon and learning to accept Mary Lou as something other than a yucky girl. Even so, there seems to be little urgency to the part of the plot.
Overall, there is little urgency in any part of the book. Jeremy's art teacher makes for a weak antagonist, as do the two less than impressive bullies Jeremy has to deal with, a contrast to the scary witch villain from (for example) Jennifer Murdley's Toad. The portions of the book that deal with Jeremy raising a dragon, and his joy in producing art are very good, but the book seems somehow incomplete, like only half of the story was written.
In the end, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher feels like it is half of a really good book. As a result, what is written is quite good, but left me frustrated and wanting the other half.
Previous book in the series: The Monster's Ring
Subsequent book in the series: Jennifer Murdley's Toad
1992 Mythopoeic Award Nominees
Bruce Coville Book Reviews A-Z Home