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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the “A Dragon’s Guide” series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

A dragon named Miss Drake is still grieving the loss of her last pet, Fluffy, when 10-year-old Winnie arrives. Winnie and her mother have inherited the house owned by Great-aunt Amelia (a.k.a. Fluffy), and Amelia has left Winnie instructions on how to find Miss Drake in her magically hidden lair. Miss Drake isn’t sure she’s ready for another pet just yet, but Winnie is persistent.

Miss Drake begins to enjoy Winnie’s company. One day, Miss Drake takes Winnie to a store known only to the magical beings of San Francisco. She buys Winnie a sketchbook since the girl enjoys drawing. Winnie quickly begins to fill the pages with skillful drawings of magical creatures. The next day, Miss Drake looks at the book and finds the pages are empty. They discover that the book itself is magical, and that the creatures Winnie drew have escaped.

Miss Drake and Winnie work quickly to recover the creatures so they won’t alert any humans to the magic that quietly exists all around them. Miss Drake is most concerned about a creature called a pemburu. After most of the creatures have been recaptured, Miss Drake comes face to face with the animated sketch of herself. It is so realistic that Winnie struggles to know which Miss Drake is the real one. Unable to return the sketched Miss Drake to the book at this time, Miss Drake reveals that the pemburu grows larger and larger by eating magic.

Miss Drake knows this is the week of the Enchanter’s Fair. She has won spell-casting competitions there many years in a row. She and Winnie determine that the pemburu would go there in search of magic to eat. With so much magic in one spot, Miss Drake fears the creature could grow very large and do immense damage to the city.

Miss Drake and Winnie attend the fair, trying to act casual and not alarm anyone. They head for the Spelling Bee, the spell-casting competition. Contestants are in the process of casting spells when the pemburu appears and begins to feed on their magic. In the chaos, Miss Drake gets shrunk. She realizes there is only way to stop the pemburu, and she bites it in the heart. Miss Drake is then able to cast a spell to return herself to normal dragon size. The crowd is so impressed, they crown her the winner of the Spelling Bee once again.

Back home, Miss Drake discovers that two pages have been torn from the sketchbook. She searches for Winnie and finds the girl has drawn pictures of her deceased father and Fluffy. She tells Miss Drake how much she wants them back, but that she knows it’s not the right thing to do. Together, she and Miss Drake release the spirits of all the creatures in the book, including Winnie’s dad and Great-aunt Amelia, but not into their world.

Miss Drake removes all magic from the sketchbook. She gives Winnie the tiara she won at the Spelling Bee, and the girl wears it with delight. They have a snack in Miss Drake’s home and drink a toast with apple cider. Later, Miss Drake is touched to find a picture Winnie has drawn a picture of the two of them playing checkers and drinking tea.

Christian Beliefs


Other Belief Systems

Miss Drake and her friends frequently use magic to shape-shift and hide themselves from human eyes. Miss Drake is so good at spell casting, she has won the Spelling Bee at the Enchanter’s Fair for many years in a row.

Winnie wears her grandfather’s high-jump medal as a good luck charm. Miss Drake notes that magic sometimes tempts people to play with it recklessly, even when they know they shouldn’t. She says this when she catches Winnie drawing pictures of her dead father and aunt, trying to decide whether to bring them back to life. Miss Drake ultimately casts a spell that releases all of Winnie’s drawings, rendering the sketchbook free of magic and setting the spirits of the drawings free. The magic in this book is of the fairy-tale variety.

Authority Roles

Winnie’s father has passed away. Mom is often at work or other meetings and appointments, leaving Winnie at home by herself. Winnie tells Miss Drake that it has been her and her mother against the world for years, since Winnie’s grandparents didn’t approve of any of Mom’s decisions. Prior to inheriting Great-aunt Amelia’s estate, she and Mom sometimes had little money on which to survive. Mom had sometimes held down two jobs. Miss Drake nurtures and cares for Winnie, as she has always done with her pets. She shares the truth about her magical life with the girl and lets Winnie savor the joys of activities such as flying.





Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

When Winnie initially meets Miss Drake, why does she admit to being afraid of the dragon? What does she mean that she fears the damage Miss Drake might do with her tongue more than the damage she could do with her fangs and claws? When have you known someone who spoke in mean and hurtful ways, doing a lot of damage with his or her tongue? What does the Bible say about your tongue and the kind of words you should say?

Why does Great-aunt Amelia make sure Winnie knows about Miss Drake? Why does Amelia think Winnie and Miss Drake need each other? When did a friend or family member help you through a hard time?

Why does Winnie draw her dad and Great-aunt Amelia in the magical sketchbook? If you’ve ever lost someone you’ve loved, how did it feel and how did you handle it? What can you do to support someone who is sad after having lost a loved one? Who might you know who needs your comfort?

According to Miss Drake, why did dragons and other magical creatures have to start hiding from humans? When have you seen someone fear, judge or put others down just because they were different? How does God want you to treat people who are different, even if you don’t really understand their behavior or choices?

What are some of the difficulties Miss Drake experiences as she raises her human pets? When has dealing with another person required you to use a lot of effort and patience? Why does loving people sometimes take so much work?

Additional Comments/Notes

You can request a review of a title you can't find at reviewrequests@family.org.

Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

Episode Reviews



Readability Age Range

8 to 12


Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder






Record Label



Yearling, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC


On Video

Year Published





We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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