Dragons & Beasties: Short Fantasy

Younger fans of dragons and other fantastic beasties should like these two newer series, even as read-alouds to kids who aren’t quite ready to tackle the text on their own.  Both series feature fairly straightforward plots, with just a handful of characters.  There’s a bad guy to be thwarted in each, and just enough danger to make things interesting but not too scary.

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series, by R.L. LaFevers
#1 Flight of the Phoenix (lexile: 640; AR book level: 4.2; 134 pp)

Unlike his parents, who are world-traveling mapmakers and beastologists (studying rare and supposedly mythical creatures), Nathaniel Fludd is not at all adventurous.  However, when his parents are declared “lost at sea,” Nathaniel must go to live with a previously unknown relative, Phil A. Fludd.  Phil, it turns out, is now the last remaining Fludd beastologist in the world, and immediately takes Nathaniel on an adventure to Arabia to witness the rebirth of the last surviving phoenix.  There are dangers and complications along the way, and Nathaniel must begin to discover his own courage and talents.

Further titles in series take Nathaniel to other exotic places and amazing creatures, and develop the mystery of what happened to his parents — are they dead or just lost, and who is responsible for their disappearance?

#2 The Basilisk’s Lair (lexile: 680; AR book level: 4.5; 150 pp)

#3 The Wyverns’ Treasure (lexile: 670; AR book level: 4.5; 154 pp)

#4 The Unicorn’s Tale (lexile: 730; AR book level: 4.6; 154 pp)

Dragon Keepers Series, by Kate Klimo
#1 The Dragon in the Sock Drawer (lexile: 680; AR book level: 4.1; 159 pp)

Ten-year old cousins Jesse and Daisy have long dreamed of experiencing a magical adventure.  They get more than they expect, however, when the “Thunder Egg” (geode) Jesse finds while rock collecting hatches into a baby dragon!  Caring for the rapidly growing, always hungry Emmy (as they name her) turns out to be quite a challenge.  Fortunately, they stumble across the website of  a “professor of dragonology,” who responds to them live on the screen!  Things get more complicated when they meet the villainous St George, who schemes to steal Emmy for his own evil purposes.  Can they keep her out of his hands?

As the sequels progress, Emmy gets bigger, and Jesse and Daisy find themselves drawn into more adventures battling the bad guy, St George.  Note that the others in the series get a bit longer and, at least by lexile level, harder to read.  (For a reader already hooked on the series, though, that shouldn’t matter much.)

#2 The Dragon in the Driveway (lexile: 750; AR book level: 4.8; 169 pp)

#3 The Dragon in the Library (lexile: 760; AR book level: 5.0; 218 pp)

#4 The Dragon in the Volcano (lexile: 810; AR book level: 5.3; 233 pp)

#5 The Dragon in the Sea (lexile: 760; AR book level: 4.9; 211 pp)

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