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  • Dragonology Chronicles Volume One: The Dragon's Eye
  • April Spisak
Steer, Dugald A. Dragonology Chronicles Volume One: The Dragon's Eye; illus. by Douglas Carrel. Candlewick, 2006221p ISBN 0-7636-2810-7$15.99 Ad Gr. 4-6

The author and illustrator team that created Dragonology and The Dragonology Handbook returns for this first novel of the Dragonology Cronicles. The legendary Dr. Drake from the encyclopedic "nonfiction" titles is explored more fully in this series, as are his students and the Secret and Ancient Society of Dragons. In the early 1880s, Dr. Drake runs a school for an exclusive group of children (most the offspring of dragonologists) studying to understand and protect dragons better. Through much of the novel, the first-person perspective of Daniel, raised in boarding schools and by an anti-dragon uncle, provides a creative excuse for the significant exposition necessary to get readers up to speed on dragon history. Too frequently, however, the voice slips into a jarring omniscient narration, bypassing Daniel altogether. In addition, the humans (unlike the dragons, who have fascinating depth) are rather flat: Dr. Drake is endlessly wise, the villains all but twirl their mustaches, and the kids mostly blur into one dutiful, well-trained über-student. Carrel's black-and-white illustrations are of mixed quality: his elegant and intricate depictions of dragons supplement the descriptions in the story, while his human subjects are uninspiring in their wide-eyed blandness. Luckily, the dragons are the real stars of this novel and in this area, both Carrel and Steer succeed. Fans who already consider themselves budding dragonologists will be familiar with dragon diaries, field notes, and the species described herein, while new readers would benefit from dipping into the older works to supplement their knowledge: regardless of the flaws, all will likely anticipate the continuation of the 'ology books, in whatever format.



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