Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher

Monday, June 3, 2013

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Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

If Howard Morton and Freddie the Frog Killer were trying to hold you down so that Mary Lou Hutton could kiss you, you might run as fast as Jeremy Thatcher did the day he stumbled into Mr. Elives's Magic Shop.

And if you stumbled into that strange shop, you too might be asked to make a choice. What would you buy? The Chinese rings? The Skull of Truth? Or the dragon's egg? And if you did buy the dragon's egg, what would you do when you found you were supposed to hatch it?

This wasn't the first book I'd read by Coville. That would be My Teacher Is an Alien, followed by My Teacher Glows in the Dark, My Teacher Fried My Brains, My Teacher Flunked the Planet, and Aliens Ate My Homework. As you can see, I'd already formed a fondness for his stories. This was the first for me of his fantasies though. (But not the last)

Jeremy loves to draw, but his art teacher seems to hate him. Nothing he does ever seems to be good enough. It doesn't help that Mr. Kravitz read the embarrassing note Mary Lou had left for Jeremy out loud to the class but didn't punish her in any way. Majorly unfair.

In trying to get away from Mary Lou after school, Jeremy ends up in a strange magic shop he doesn't remember ever seeing before. While wandering around, he notices several curious objects, including a multi-colored ball with changing hues. Mr. Elives allows him to buy it for a quarter, saying that it had chosen him. Whatever that means.

When he gets home and reads the folded paper Mr. Elives had given him with it, he finds out. It's instructions for hatching an egg. That is only the beginning of it all, too. He's expected to care for it. It isn't easy to hide a baby dragon in his house, even with a multitude of pets around since his dad is the town vet. And what is he going to do when it gets bigger? How big can it grow?

One of the things I find so appealing about this story is that Jeremy's issues are anchored in the real world. He's an ordinary 6th grader who has to balance his normal issues with that of dragon caretaker. Any of us could have found ourselves in Jeremy's shoes. And let me tell you, I'd wanted a dragon like his so bad even though I would've had to go through the same heartache he did when the dragon was old enough to go her home world.

It's well worth reading.


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