Review Blog

Jun 20 2014

Shadow sister by Carole Wilkinson

cover image

Dragonkeeper bk 5. Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922179579.
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Dragons - China. Adventure. Fantasy. Good and Evil.
Shadow sister is the fifth fantasy adventure novel in the Carole Wilkinson's Dragonkeeper series. She is a meticulous researcher who has blended the ancient Chinese ways of life and Buddhist teachings into this wonderful engaging story.
Tao leaves the Buddhist monastery, just as the evil monk Fo Tu Deng takes over as abbot. The fifteen year old boy's courage, wisdom and strength are tested as he learns the duties and trials of dragonkeeping with a contrary dragon. An unusual diet of scorpions, tiger's blood, bat dung and cockroaches are sourced by Tao in his search to help the sick dragon. The tenets of Tao's religious faith also prove challenging, he's a vegetarian and won't harm living creatures.
They have a dynamic relationship and the reader builds up empathy for Tao and his dragon's journey, faced with so much evil. Safety is a huge concern with a band of marauding nomads in close pursuit, encounters with a ghost-spirit and an attack by a giant snake with seven heads. There are lighter moments when they take care of a young baby and an old man. Who knew that Kai understood about baby food? Two girls, one a ghost and the other Pema his friend who has joined the Black Camel Bandits, play important roles in the narrative.
Sonia Kretschmar's bold artwork uses a Yin and Yang style, with Tao in the bold foreground and dragon Kai in complementary colours in the background. Carole's website includes additional information and a short story about Pema.
I highly recommend this book to readers from 9-12.
Rhyllis Bignell

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