05 November 2010

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret

by Briony Stewart

UQP (University of Queensland Press). Australian, Junior, Mythical. Paperback rrp $14.95

Reviewed by Heather Zubek

I want a dragon just like Kumiko. I want a dragon that watches over you at night and protects you from the Shadow Catchers during the day. I am not a human born into the ancient royal bloodline of dragons unfortunately but young Kumiko is and so are her sister and Grandmother. They have guardian dragons that take them on all sorts of adventures.

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret is the second book in the series by young Perth author Briony Stewart but there is no need to read the first to understand the next installment.

Based on stories passed down from her Japanese grandmother and beautifully illustrated by Briony herself, Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret continues the adventures of a young Japanese girl and her guardian dragon called Tomodo. Briony’s writing is rich and colourful with beautiful phrasing:

There is nothing outside but the hills, which lie like layers of torn paper across the horizon.

The illustrations are thoughtful and clearly influenced by the author’s Japanese roots. The story of sister rivalry is also sensitively detailed and brings a knowing smile to anyone who has a younger sibling.

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret is a beautiful mix of mythology and fiction. The chapters are short enough to hold the interest of young readers and a cliff hanger at the end of most of them ensures the pages are turned.

A wonderful series that will appeal to young readers aged 9+.


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