In need of something that would make me laugh the other night, I picked up the latest Babymouse book: Dragonslayer. And it was exactly what I was looking for. I think this might be the best of the series so far. Certainly it's the most appealing so far for fantasy fans. That's because Babymouse: Dragonslayer is chock-full of references to fantasy sagas, old and new. Where else can you find:
- A locker that's a portal to another world (complete with fur coats);
- The Fellowship of the Slide Rule; and
- A geometry problem involving the flight of a boy and a dragon?
Short answer: nowhere else. (There's also a wonderful Harry Potter reference, but I don't want to spoil it.) Babymouse: Dragonslayer is full to the brim with creativity and fun. It's a perfect mix of fantasy elements (as you can see from the cover image of Babymouse, her sword and chain mail, and a menacing dragon), and the real-world problems of elementary school kids (in this case, math). We have the mundane (a mean cat chanting "Babymouse is in trou-ble!"), the epic ("there is a prophecy that one will come..."), and the ridiculous (a bat, all of whose words are printed upside down), all mixed together. And it works, evoking snorts of laughter on virtually every page.
Despite all of these things, I think that my favorite aspect of this book, as with the others, remains the bickering between Babymouse and the narrator. Like:
Narrator: "Look on the bright side, Babymouse--you may be missing lunch, but at least you get to do math!"
Narrator: "Babymouse, do you even know what a slide rule is?"
Babymouse: "No, but I want one."
There's something to the tone of these interactions (like that matter-of-fact, "That would be a no" on page 40) that never fails to please me.
There are swords. There are dragons. There are math problems. There are cupcakes. What more could anyone ask? Jenni Holm and Matt Holm are far, far from phoning it in with this series. Babymouse: Dragonslayer is my favorite yet. Highly recommended.
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 25, 2009
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
Other Blog Reviews: Book Moot, Becky's Book Reviews, The Well-Read Child. See also my reviews of Babymouse: Beach Babe, Babymouse: Heartbreaker, and Babymouse: Puppy Love
© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.