TOON Books has an incredible Fall lineup: Flop to the Top! and Written and Drawn by Henrietta are perfect for burgeoning readers, and make topics like reality television, social media, and the creative writing process accessible to a younger audience. The new Philemon adventure, The Suspended Castle, brings a touch of surrealism and imagination to middle and high school audiences. Now, David Nytra brings us a fantastic adventure, Windmill Dragons, where a brother and sister restore balance to their land, which has been besieged by dragons – dragons that were formerly mere windmills.
Leah and Alan are siblings, out playing with their dog, Rowdy. Alan wants to hear a story with monsters, and Leah happily obliges as her brother curls up next to her. The story begins: “When the harmony between the forces of nature is disturbed, the whole world is sent out of balance, and the consequences can be… stormy and tempestuous!”
With that, the children are transported into a fantastic world where the windmills have become dragons, urged on by magical winds. Leah and Alan, a knight and her squire, are greeted by their terrified neighbors, who tell them that their village has been overrun, and even worse, their beloved dog, Rowdy, is trapped! He was last seen trying to fight the dragons! Leah and Alan set out to solve the mystery behind the appearance of the dragons and set things right. On their adventure, they will meet a giant chicken, a dragon-slaying knight of legend, and a meat-eating boat.
Like all TOON books, this is a great book that has a basis in myth and history. It’s a clean story about a pair of siblings on a fairy-tale adventure, heavily based on myth and literature. There are references to Don Quixote, The Canterbury Tales, and the Old Testament, all of which are explained in the “Behind the Story” section at the end of the book. The retro, black and white art and storytelling style will appeal to all ages, and is perfect for more conservative readers. This is hugely helpful for my library, where I have several families who prefer very clean, simple storytelling with positive themes.
Author/Artist David Nytra’s previous Leah and Alan Adventure, The Secret of the Stone Frog, was a 2013 Harvey Award Nominee, and was designated one of School Library Journal’s Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2012.
I’d love to see Windmill Dragons used in middle school and upper elementary grades. There is so much rich storytelling here, with links to literary and mythological history, that it would easily slot into several themes of study throughout a school year. Windmill Dragons is a Junior Library Guild selection, and there will be a grade 4-5 downloadable educator’s guide soon. Windmill Dragons is out on September 8, and is a great back to school gift!
Take a look at some pages from Windmill Dragons below:
Writer & Artist: David Nytra
Publisher: TOON Books
On-Sale: September 8, 2015