The story begins with two archetypal characters, Galifalia, an old woman with a back story of heroism, and Aga, an ageless magician. Aga brings Galifalia a baby boy to raise. She tells the magician she is too old to raise a child, but she is unable to resist the baby--as Aga knew would be the case.
The orphan baby grows happy and content in Galifalia's care, but when she dies, the boy has no one and must survive on his own. He goes each day to the compound where the great dragon Star is kept and asks to speak to the Dragon Master. His determination finally bears results, and his request to be taken on as a stall boy is granted.
The boy loves his work and makes some good friends, but he also must endure some bullying from one of the older boys. Though small, his time on the streets has made him tough and determined, and he doesn't let the bullying discourage him, but fights back. Working with the dragon Star is all he has dreamed of, and his love for the dragon increases.
Star takes to the boy immediately, and one small detail that I liked is that Star purrs when the boy is around. Something about a dragon purring just appeals to me. As the relationship grows, it turns out that the boy and dragon share the ability to communicate telepathically, and the dragon takes it upon himself to teach the boy. The boy becomes the dragon's apprentice--a goal that the mysterious Aga, who brought the orphaned baby to Galifalia, has intended all along.
The Dragon Boy has been honored with a first place gold medal in the 2009 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards for Best First Book.
The Dragon Boy has also received the coveted Mom's Choice Award for juvenile fiction.I enjoyed this adventure, and since many of the reviews are from young people, it is clear that Samson has reached his target audience. A great book for read-aloud with parent and child both enjoying the experience, but for middle graders, an involving read on their own.
Once Upon a Time Challenge
Fantasy. 2012, 3rd ed. 245 pages.