The girl with the dragon heart by Stephanie Burgis

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408880777
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Fairies, Good and Evil.
"Once upon a time in a beautiful, dirty, exciting city full of people and chocolate and possibilities, there was a girl so fearless and so daring that. . "
Stephanie Burgis weaves another magical fantasy in The Girl with the Dragon Heart. Following The dragon with the chocolate heart, thirteen-year-old Silke, storyteller and worldly-wise orphan is the focus of this second story, that is filled with castle intrigue and an evil plot. The royal court of Elfenwald, the feared fairy kingdom, is coming to visit the royal family at the Drachenberg palace. Princess Katrin asks Silke to become a palace spy, disguised as a lady-in-waiting to find out their real motives.
We learn more Silke's past and discover why she loves to spin tall tales, why she is quick-witted and has developed excellent survival skills. She is an orphan: her parents disappeared in the evil fairy kingdom of Elfenwald and with her older brother Dieter, live a simple existence in Drachenburg, selling second-hand clothes on the riverbank. Her handbills advertising the chocolate shop are fabricated with stories of royal patronage, and this captures the princess's attention.
Silke's initiation into palace life is humorous, as she wears corsets and fancy dresses, learning to curtsy and following all the rules. Young Princess Sofia's jealousy of Silke's special assignment also causes problems. Night time forays into the secret tunnels and passageways, listening to secret conversations add to the excitement and danger. Silke finds comfort with her friends the chocolate makers as they prepare delicious confections in the palace.
Stephanie Burgis understands the fantasy realm; she builds an exciting world filled with relatable characters, adding magic, a fight of good and evil, exciting fairy characters, goblins and of course dragons. The Girl with the Dragon Heart champions girls taking charge of their own destiny and surviving in difficult circumstances by using their skills and wits. A fantastic adventure novel to share with Middle Primary students.
Rhyllis Bignell