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Review of A Dragon’s Guide to Making 
Your Human Smarter

yep_dragon's guide to making your human smarterA Dragon’s Guide to Making 
Your Human Smarter
by Laurence Yep and Joanne Ryder; 
illus. by Mary GrandPré
Intermediate    Crown    296 pp.
3/16    978-0-385-39232-7    $16.99
Library ed.  978-0-385-39233-4    $19.99    g
e-book ed.  978-0-385-39234-1    $10.99

Newly admitted to Spriggs Academy, Winnie Burton has more to contend with than the usual new-girl jitters. Winnie’s dragon-caretaker, Miss Drake, enrolled Winnie so she could learn magic, but Miss Drake’s “self-proclaimed rival,” the sorceress Silana Voisin, has a niece, Nanette, attending Spriggs, and Nanette has decided to be Winnie’s self-proclaimed rival. Nanette invites Winnie to be her stage assistant at the Halloween Festival magic show, but is her niceness a ruse to hide a mean trick? Even worse, Winnie’s grandfather Jarvis wants to kidnap her and make her the heir to his ill-gotten empire, and his goons are stalking the school. While the previous book (A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans, rev. 3/15) was told from Miss Drake’s perspective, this second Dragon’s Guide alternates between Winnie’s and Miss Drake’s points of view, the better to represent their more united front against the problems they face in this volume — not least the question of when to let Winnie’s mother in on the secret of a dragon living in the basement of their San Francisco mansion. Lighthearted episodes of unusual school lessons and field trips, illustrated by GrandPré’s winsome spot art, are grounded by Miss Drake’s more serious encounters with the goons, but in the end it’s Winnie’s street smarts that get Grandfather Jarvis to ease up a little — a gratifying development as this buoyant, fantastical series continues.

From the March/April 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

About Anita L. Burkam

Horn Book reviewer Anita L. Burkam is former associate editor of The Horn Book Magazine.

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