A Dragon’s Guide to Making Your Human Smarter is a fun, whimsical and imaginatively entertaining book for young children. This definitely is for earlier readers or as a read aloud/read together for about ages 6-10 (pub. recommends 8-12). If I had to compare this book to any other series, it would likely be along the lines of Magic Treehouse, except more fantasy based.
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Published by RandomHouseKids, it is not the first in the series, but it is worth pointing out as an entertaining and very imaginative tale of a dragon (Miss Drake) and her pet human (Winnie) and their adventures. It is also worth mentioning that this book is one of those that is a series best read from the beginning. There will be too many missing pieces if you begin with book two.
Winnie is challenged to adapt to a new school for girls, where teaching is anything but ordinary and where the eclectic student body includes magicals as well as humans. Imagine being taught science by Sir Isaac Newton and getting to meet Nessie the Loch Ness Monster. While Winnie uses her wits to find her own way, Miss Drake is secretly trying to discover and foil a new plot by Winnie’s grandfather to gain custody of her. Can they stop Jarvis once and for all? Will Winnie shape her future and become the person she wants to be?
About the Authors
Laurence Yep is a two-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. He is the author of over sixty books, including the bestselling Isabelle American Girl of the Year titles.
Joanne Ryder has published over seventy books and received numerous awards for her nature writing and poetry. This is her first book starring a dragon and her first collaboration with Laurence Yep, who has many dragon books to his credit.
About the Illustrator
Mary GrandPré is best known as the illustrator of the Harry Potter books. She has illustrated several picture books, including the 2015 Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock; The Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky; and Chin Yu Min and the Ginger Cat by Jennifer Armstrong, as well as The Blue Shoe by Roderick Townley.
While this is a whimsical book that weaves bits of historical and mythical tales within it, it is based deeply on magic and myth. If your family has sensitivities to custody issues, or if you do not allow books containing magic in your home, this series will need to be a hard pass for your family. I did not find it offensive personally as it was all presented in a fun lighthearted way and we do make very clear what is imagination and myth and what is truth in our home and we simply don’t read anything that crosses the line. That said, as a homeschooler, I cannot say I found it to contain the type of depth we typically lean toward, but that is due primarily to two things… 1. our children are now above this book’s natural interest level and 2. it is truly a personal preference and homeschool style thing. If nothing else, pre-read the first book in the series and decide for yourself.