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Jenny Beck.
Illustrated by Marianne Wahl.

Moonbeam (ON), Penumbra Press, c1982.
153pp, paper, $7.95.
ISBN 0-92080640-6.

Grades 4-6.
Reviewed by Enid Dorward.

Volume 11 Number 5.
1983 September.

How about a dragon for a pet? Allyson, who was living with relatives in Thunder Bay while her parents were in Peru, had a pet dragon! She had found an unusual "rock" while caving, and the "rock" later was revealed to be an egg, which hatched. The creature inside had a long neck, violet eyes, wings, and green feathery quills along its back. The baby dragon, whom Allyson named Samantha, grew so rapidly that she soon became too large to keep in the house. The family tried to locate a farm or zoo that would look after the dragon, but they had no luck. Allyson's brother and cousin were kidnapped by a man who had apparently wanted Samantha for his own evil purposes, but with Samantha's help, Allyson and the police found them and arrested the man. In the end, Allyson let the dragon go free so that she would be safe from people who might harm her.

Marianne Ward's illustrations help the reader envision the dragon. The author has grounded the story in reality and has thus succeeded in making the fantasy of the dragon quite believable. The exploration of Allyson's relationships with various members of her family add an additional realistic facet to the story. There is plenty of action and excitement. The only weakness is the inclusion of the villain, who seems to have been artificially imposed upon the story and is not even as believable as the presence of the dragon. On the whole, however, this is a story that should delight youngsters aged nine to eleven.

Enid Dorward, Winnipeg, MB.
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