The dragon with a chocolate heart by Stephanie Burgis
Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408880319
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. The dragon with a chocolate heart is a wonderfully woven fantasy adventure that should come with a warning - needs to be read while drinking hot chocolate and sampling a large box of delicious chocolates! Stephanie Burgis combines the world of dragons, the forces of magic and brings a feisty hero to life. She sets her novel in traditional old world town - Drachenburg - where chocolate houses vie for royal favour.
Aventurine is a young dragon desperate to escape her boring family life. When she leaves her family caverns filled with golden treasure to search for her own dinner, the young dragon is tempted by a cup of sweet smelling hot cocoa from a mysterious food mage. In an instant, she changes from a colourful scaly dragon into a wingless human girl. Aventurine learns to adapt to her human body and sets off down the mountain into town. She meets scoundrels and townsfolk out for their own good and runs away from the first couple who just want an unpaid servant.
After some twists and turns, she meets young Silke who help her with suitable clothing and she finds a job as apprentice chocolatier at the Chocolate Heart. Her passion for chocolate and her love of finding the perfect flavours is beneficial for the business.
Burgis writes a rich and engaging fantasy narrative, filled with delicious sweet descriptions and cups of special hot chocolate to delight the royal family. Her setting amongst the delights and dramas of life in Drachenburg with all the behind-the-scenes details of the chocolate shop, the secret recipes, spicy touches, and the well-rounded characters add to the warmth of the story. How can the feisty young girl save the town from the attacking dragons who happen to be her own family?
The dragon with a chocolate heart explores the themes of acceptance, courage, resilience and making the right choices, a wonderful story for fantasy fans and just right for Middle Primary students.