“In the town of Squashbuckle, just about anything can happen, and when Henry Penwhistle draws a mighty Chalk Dragon on his door, the dragon does what Henry least expects–it runs away. Now Henry’s art is out in the world for everyone to see, and it’s causing trouble for him and his schoolmates Oscar and Jade. If they don’t stop it, the entire town could be doomed! To vanquish the threat of a rampaging Chalk Dragon, Sir Henry Penwhistle, Knight of La Muncha Elementary School, is going to have to do more than just catch his art–he’s going to have to let his imagination run wild. And THAT takes bravery.” (from Goodreads)
This book by Jennifer Trafton caught me up and flew me along on the back of a frightening, jungle green dragon. I met a little boy wearing raincoat armor, who (much like myself) was bursting with creativity and afraid to let the world see it. I met Jade (the secret agent? alien? poet? knight?), the adorable bus driver Mr. Bruce, a few adults who used to be “superheroes”, and Oscar the scientist with an art of his own. I grinned my head off over the literary references (La Muncha? Pimpernel? Bigger on the inside? Elementary?) and felt Henry’s icy cold (like a popsicle) fear when all his worst nightmares seemed to be coming true. And I cried over the beautiful thing that happened to his chivalry and how he began to think of people. This book warmed my soul and taught me it takes courage to be an artist.
Best quotes (just so you get a sample of this author’s BEAUTIFUL style 😀 ): “Dragons aren’t scary–well, they are, but they’re a good kind of scary. They’re the kind of scary you want to be scared of. People are the bad kind of scary, he thought. Dragons can only eat you, but people can laugh at you, and that is like being chewed to death by a smile.”
“It’s a dangerous thing to open a door. But that, after all, is the only way to find an adventure.”
“Oscar,” said Henry, gazing up at the circle of blue sky, “if this day were a chocolate-covered peanut, you would be the chocolate.” Oscar grinned. “And you would be the nut.”
Altogether, I loved this fresh, adorable, and brilliant book. (Even just looking up those quotes whetted my appetite for the descriptions and made me bawl like a baby. 😛 )
(Just a note to parents of small children, some of the action gets pretty intense and there are several fantastical things that happen.)