May 3, 2017

Zoey and Sassafras: Dragons and Marshmallows by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 7:46 pm by suebe2

Zoey and Sassafras:
Dragons and Marshmallows
by Asia Citro
illustrated by Marion Lindsay
The Innovation Press

When Zoey hustles into her mother’s office to share an amazing find, she sees photos spread out on the desk and one of them glows. Mom is shocked that Zoey can see the glow because she’s always believed she was the only one who could see magic.  When she realizes that Zoey shares this gift, Mom shares a secret.  Animals come to their backyard whenever they need help and these aren’t ordinary animals.  They are magical.

Shortly after her mother leaves on a business trip, Zoey hears the bell that signals an animal in distress.  Heading to the yard behind the barn, Zoey discovers a baby dragon. It doesn’t look like it is injured but it is slow and sluggish.  Zoey knows that sometimes an animal is the “runt of the litter,” smaller and weaker than its little mates.  Soon she is working to discover what she can feed the baby dragon to make it strong.

In this, the first of the Zoey and Sassafras books, Citro combines a fun fantasy story with a how-to tutorial on the scientific method.  Zoey makes observations and using this information draws on her knowledge of the natural world to answer a question.  Like any true scientist, Zoey must observe and make notes and doesn’t always get things right on the first try.  When she does make a mistake, she thinks some more, makes more observations and again applies what she knows to solve the problem.

Zoey is a great character for young readers who like science or fantasy.  Inquisitive and caring, she has a quick mind and a good heart.  That said, she is not “wise beyond her years” and thus gives readers a character they can understand and appreciate.

Like many chapter books, this one is illustrated and Marion Lindsay’s drawings help bring the story to life.  They are fun and a bit silly and just as good at depicting a girl and her cat as a baby dragon.

Although this book would be perfect for a newly confident reader it would also make a great read aloud for the classroom or bedtime reading. That said, be prepared for discussions on how we make discoveries, acquiring new knowledge and exploring the world.

–SueBE

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