I have always loved dragons, there’s something spectacular about them that leaves me in awe. They have scaly giant bodies, huge wings and claws but also gentle looking faces with thoughtful and wise eyes. They are truly magnificent creatures bringing fear and amazement into any tale. If you place a dragon into any story *POOF* it instantly becomes something more dazzling and magical.
Today I am on the blog tour for Dragon River (SilverWood Books 24 April 2020) By Rob Saunders and illustrated By Gillian Martin. A big thank you to the author for my copy to review and also the figurine of Gallo, he is adorable. Also thank you to the wonderful Anne for the invite.
This story has everything: A boy who turns into a dragon…and back again. The longest, most boring train ride ever. Bully boys, making stuff, and a near disaster on the river. There’s even magic, two court cases, a plane ride and a song. Join the Drako family, the nasty Purkisses, teacher Hippolyta Scythe, singer Solange Luna, and Percy the phenomenal child artist, along with Gallo the superhero dragon! A brilliant book for fans of Lemony Snicket.
About The Author
When he is working as a commercial artist he is known as Bob. His most high profile work is creating the soft sculpted foam face make up and the mask for the Phantom in productions of Phantom of the Opera. [Although of course not right now] He has created award winning lifelike pelican puppets for a Kit Kat commercial which was shown in Germany. The London company Applied Arts, established by Bob, is now run by his colleague Mark, who is currently working on a new production of the musical Cats opening in South Korea in the autumn. In recent years Bob has worked with both Derren Brown and Dynamo to develop ideas for their stage shows. Bob and his company have created work for musicians as diverse as Take That, the John Wilson orchestra and French singer Maxime de Forestier.
In lockdown he has been making visor frames for health care workers using his home 3d printer.
Come on an adventure with Sally Drako and her twin brother Gal as they discover magic and wonder during the long electricity power cut that brought poverty and darkness to Brilliana. Their father Lancelot is forced to work away in Daydon while their mother Sebille stays behind with the children. The twins quickly learn to adapt to the situation and catch fish in the river, surviving as best they can. One day they find a hidden meadow with trout, corn and also a shiny pearl. The pearl turns out to be lucky, giving good health and fortune. But it is not long before a group of people try to take the pearl. It is this series of events which quickly unfold as Gal turns into a dragon, we take a long long, long boring train journey, discover a neglected little boy and watch a spectacular musical. A lot happens in this delightful tale dear reader. I daren’t spoil it all for you as it’s something you have to experience for yourself to fully appreciate the magic and mystery that these characters get up to.
This is an adventure story for children age 7 – 10 years but adults will enjoy it just as much. I read this along with my eldest and loved every second. We read it chapter by chapter every night and I had to hold myself back after bedtime to not read ahead. It reminded me how to feel excited about the prospect that anything is possbile. That dragons exsist and a pearl will bring luck. To also follow my dreams and never give up on what I believe in. My eldest was inspired and learned more about why it’s always good to be kind to others. He understood that not everyone in the world is nice and saw how their comeuppance was inevitable.
I found the pace of the narrative a mixture between a gentle flow and sudden rapids. One minute the characters would be going about their everyday life and then suddenly they were being chased, backed into corners with no way out. It reminded me a lot of floating along on a river with no way of knowing when the current would quicken. It was enjoyable as I found things didn’t move too quickly or slowly, it was just right, as goldilocks would say.
The characters built depth and reality to the story. The Drako family were all good, kind and caring people who looked out for each other and wanted a simple happy life. Characters like the Purkisses were nasty and spiteful creatures that enjoyed the misery of others. Then you had characters like Percy who reminded you of a time of innocence and vulnerability. And of course Gallo, who could forget this majestic creature, he brought magic and hope every-time he flew onto the page. Each character has a purpose and brought that extra pizzaz to the narrative.
My favourite character and my eldest’s has got to be Gallo, of course. Not only because he is a dragon and pretty awesome but because he is kind, friendly and looks out for the Drako family. He saves them multiple times and never asks for anything in return. Every scene Gallo appears in you just know that something astounding is going to happen. I spent a lot of the time wondering when he would grace us with his presence and was never disappointed when he did. I wish his visits had been a bit longer but then again he is a dragon and should be soaring the skies. Not stuck on the ground with us boring humans. Oh to be a dragon, that would be something now wouldn’t it?
I loved the illustrations throughout this book. The maps of Daydon and Brilliana were detailed and reminded me of olden fairy tales. The drawings of the characters and Gallo also made me smile. They captured the scenes perfectly. Whenever I saw an illustration my face lit up and I felt like a child again. I was just happy to get a glimpse of our characters and their world. And more-so the loveable Gallo. He is just so cute!
I give Dragon River By Rob Saunders a Four out of Five paw rating.
This story has everything you could possibly want, danger, love, villains, friendship, suspense and dragons!
At the heart of this story proudly sits a dragon that will show you how the kindness and love of others can bring us all together. A dragon called Gallo will nestle into your heart and become your friend for life.
I’m not crying…I have something in my eye…
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy.
Hop hop wiggle wiggle
Huge thanks for the blog tour support Emma x
GREAT review, I think you enjoyed it more than we did but we also loved the illustrations!