The first in a series of books about the adventures and everyday challenges of Henry Heckelbeck.
Unlike other members of his family, Henry is not a witch nor does he possess any magical powers and he is absolutely fine with that. He quite enjoys being normal and is excited about the start of the new school year. When class teacher, Ms. Mizzle, tasks the children with a special ‘All About Me’ project involving finding three objects to put in a bag that show the class who they are Henry is excited about what he might choose. Whilst getting his toy dragon for the project off the top shelf, Henry inadvertently pulls down an old book and inside he finds one of his medals and a dragon spell. Chanting the spell brings his dragon to life but he doesn’t realise this until it is too late. And the next day, when he goes to show his best friend Dudley his bag, the dragon is not there, just a scorched hole in the bag that looks strangely like the work of a very much alive fire-breathing dragon…
This is the kind of thing that I’m sure lots of children would thoroughly like to happen. But as Henry discovers, you should be careful what you wish for because having a real-life dragon on the loose at school brings quite a few problems. The school scenario will be very familiar to young readers - bring to school items from home that reveal things about yourself. What is hopefully less familiar is toys coming to life and causing a little bit of mischief. It all makes for some light-hearted fun that young readers will find entertaining.
This is an ideal first book for readers who are new to chapter books. The story is told over ten short chapters which provide plenty of opportunities for reading the story over a few days and will allow readers to build up their reading stamina. The text is large and the story is told in simple sentences. Black and white illustrations feature on almost every page and portray diverse characters - Henry’s best friend and teacher are both black as are some of the other children in the class.
A fun read that combines fantasy and magic with the everyday experiences of school and home.
Recommended for 5+.