Having followed Andy Shepherd’s progress from newly published author to popular and established writer I was delighted to be asked to take part in the blogtour for The Boy Who Sang With Dragons. Every so often a book, or in this case a series of books, comes along that a school librarian can recommend far and wide with confidence and it has been wonderful to witness the enthusiasm that has greeted Andy’s magical stories. This enchanting and likeable series reaches a conclusion in this fifth and final book and although young readers will be sad to say goodbye to Tomas, his friends and of course the dragons this is a perfect finale.
Tomas is now an experienced dragon grower, well versed in the needs of his charges and able to cope with all manner of problems resulting from their antics. However it is problems of a different sort that he must overcome in this latest instalment. He uncovers a secret and together with his new friend Aura he sets off on the most challenging adventure so far. With the help of their loyal group of friends and all the dragons of different sizes and skills Tomas and Aura solve the mystery that lies at the heart of the story of the dragons and discover the true depths of their friendship.
This final adventure is told with all the humour and warmth that we have come to expect from the previous books. Central to the story are Tomas and his likeable family in particular the relationship between Tomas and his Grandad and this aspect adds greatly to the emotional response of the reader. These are relatable and likeable people. Tomas is maturing and learning how to adjust to the changing dynamics of his group of friends as some depart to live elsewhere and new friends increase in importance. This is a useful life lesson for children who will discover through Tomas’s story the way in which friendships can alter and be tested but still remain constant. When Tomas feels threatened by developments it is Grandad with his wisdom and his toffees who comes to the rescue yet again.
But, importantly, this is also a story of humour and excitement! The plot has moments of peril and danger that are sure to keep children gripped. There is a lot of fun in this book but a lot of heart too. Andy Shepherd balances the adventure and the danger with tenderness and thoughtfulness too. I have mentioned it before but she has a knack of describing emotions and situations in a way that young readers will understand. I love the way in which she encourages her readers to stop and take notice so as not to miss the magic that is all around them if they look carefully.
Andy Shepherd has a wonderful website full of information and entertaining stuff for children including yummy recipes, dragonfruit fact sheets and quizzes. The range of teaching resources Andy has thoughtfully created for schools is extensive and covers everything from creative writing to art and research to media and these are available to download here. These would be fabulous to use in the classroom but are also perfect for home learning during the lockdown too.
Thank you very much to Andy and Piccadilly Press for providing my review copy and inviting me to take part in this blog tour. The Boy Who Sang With Dragons was published on 7th January and is available to purchase at Waterstones online or via your nearest independent bookshop which can be found on this map.
Don’t miss the rest of the tour to find out more.