Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to welcome Tina Morley, the blogger behind “Amanda’s Books and More” as a guest contributor with us today. Ms. Morley is here to share her review of the middle grade book, “Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon” by H. L. Burke.
Guest Review: Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon by H. L. Burke
by Tina Morley
Title: Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon | Author: H.L. Burke | Illustrators: Mikayla Rayne and Jennifer White | Publication Date: March 1, 2015 | Pages: 112 | Recommended Ages: 9 – 12
Book Description: Thaddeus F. Whiskers is a pampered palace pet, a kitten enchanted to never become a cat. Princess Clarice loves him, for in the entire kingdom, there is no other kitten as cute or as clever. He leads a life of cushions and cream until a wizard’s “gift” results in his banishment. Determined to make it back to the princess he loves, he escapes into the wilderness where he discovers the lair of a dragon.
Grandious, the dragon, doesn’t care about anything besides himself. He wants to be left alone with his treasure. However, there is something about Thaddeus that has him entranced. He finds himself opening his home and his heart to the little cat.
Thaddeus is a small creature in a big world. Between him and his beloved Princess stand conniving wizards, would-be-step-mothers, and rampaging rats. However, when danger threatens both Clarice and Grandious, Thaddeus won’t allow his size to get in the way of saving his friends.
When I heard that Heidi Lyn Burke was publishing a new novel, I couldn’t wait to read it! Up until now, all of Heidi’s fantasy novels I have read for my own pleasure and reviewed. Even my two teenage girls have enjoyed reading some of her stories. When I heard that this one was for children, I was keen to include Amanda in the review.
Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon is a middle-grade chapter book that will not only capture the imagination of children, but also the imagination of their parents and teachers. It’s a great book to read-aloud at bedtime or in the classroom. It has all the elements of a fairy-tale with magic and wizards and a dragon.
In Thaddeus Whiskers and the Dragon, two unlikely creatures become the best of friends. They learn to respect each other and care for each other despite their differences. Indeed, they have some huge differences, like in their size – one is very small and one is very large, but they also have some similarities. Parents and teachers could use this as a discussion point with their children to celebrate the differences and similarities between races and cultures.
The story is mostly told from Thaddeus’ point of view, the kitten who is also the princess’ companion. Even though he is small, he has to learn how to overcome adversity and dangerous enemies.
H.L. Burke is descriptive in her story-telling. Here’s a quote from Chapter 6:
“He emptied the sack upon the floor and smoothed the coins with his tail as if spreading butter on bread.”
I enjoy that kind of imagery. It’s also a great book for building your child’s vocabulary. Here are just a few of the big words found in the first chapter alone: ungainliness, marveled, fawned, inhabitants, and procession.
My daughter, Amanda, loves a bit of mystery and suspense. When we got to the part where the Rat King wanted something from Thaddeus, she could hardly contain her excitement as we waited to find out in a later chapter what it was he wanted. She also enjoyed the funny twist at the end, especially the part with the baby rats. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’ll leave it at that!
I highly recommend this book for boys and girls ages 9 to 12 and anyone older who is young at heart!
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About the Author: H.L. Burke
Born in a small town in north central Oregon, H. L. Burke spent most of her childhood around trees and farm animals and always accompanied by a book. Growing up with epic heroes from Middle Earth and Narnia keeping her company, she also became an incurable romantic.
An addictive personality, she jumped from one fandom to another, being at times completely obsessed with various books, movies, or television series (Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Star Trek all took their turns), but she has grown to be what she considers a well-rounded connoisseur of geek culture.
Married to her high school crush who is now a US Marine, she has moved multiple times in her adult life but believes home is wherever her husband, two daughters, and pets are.
For information about H. L. Burke‘s latest novels, author news and events, or to contact the writer, go to the H.L. Burke author website.
You can read my interesting interview of Heidi here.
Disclosure: I received a free digital copy of this book for my honest review.
About the Guest Contributor: Tina Morley
My name is Tina Morley. I’m an American mom living in South Africa. My husband is South African and we have four kids. I teach at the English Language School at Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and I am a volunteer at the Institute for the Blind.