Nora Ryan Books
Children's Fantasy in the tradition of Aesop's Fables where mythical creatures take on human characteristics and the story illustrates a moral lesson.
Born with a loose fire-spurter and small wings, Soot fears that the challenges of graduating from dragon academy are insurmountable. But when Soot finds a clawnail imbedded in the quest pouch of his missing father, he soon discovers that he has mysterious powers.
Feeling in his heart that these new powers are connected to his father, he summons up the courage to persevere in his quest and learns the true meaning of the dragon code.
There were three tests to pass: length, accuracy and multiple fireballs. Prof. Blaze marked out the finishing line by scorching the grass with his breath. He sprinkled some gizzard juice along the scorch-line. The juice caused flame to burn a bright blue as it passed over the gizzard vapour. Each dragon had one practice throw (which didn’t count) and then three attempts to cross the line, two of which had to be successful. Some of the dragons, such as Spark and Scorcher were very skilled at this event and their flames flew so high over the finish mark that they failed to light up the gizzard juice. Of course, anyone with half a dragon’s eye could see that they had easily cleared the mark.
“Mine went the furthest,” bragged Scorcher.
“See the S-shaped tail coming from its scorch mark? That’s the Scarlew brand. We’re the record holders for flame throwing.”
Spark wasn’t convinced and he looked at Prof. Blaze.
“I believe mine went further,” said Spark
“These are trials not a competition. You either pass or fail,” he answered. “You have both passed. Next!”
Soot shuffled up to the start line. He couldn’t believe his bad luck. Imagine having to throw right after Scorcher and Spark. He started to clear his flame spurter.
“Harr, harr, ahouaghhrrhh!” he snorted.
Scorcher started to snicker.
“Relax and take a deep breath. You’ll be fine,” whispered Spark. But Soot was already turning a deep shade of purple from his efforts. He was anything but relaxed. He took a quick gulp of air and blew out the most pathetic arch of flame of the entire four days. It landed in a fizzle less than half way across and barely singed the grass where it landed. Scorcher squealed with laughter but Prof. Blaze silenced him with a wave of his wing.
“Dragon code, dragon code,” he warned. Soot took another breath and blew as hard as he could. The flame shot out of his mouth with good speed but without enough lift and arched to the ground just short of the mark. Soot started to panic. He only had two shots left and both had to be successful to pass. He could feel his whole neck and throat wobbling uncontrollably. He put his claw around his neck to try to stop the wobbling. As soon as his father’s clawnail touched his scales he started to feel a warm pulse coming from it. The pulse rippled through his skin and went deep down into his throat as far as his spurter. His spurter relaxed. His throat relaxed. He took a long deep breath and lifted his snout skywards, releasing a perfectly arched flame that blazed a deep blue as it crossed the finish line. The rest of the dragons sighed in amazement.
“That was a fluke! – Bet you can’t repeat it,” whispered Scorcher, not wanting to be heard by Prof. Blaze. Soot was oblivious to both the impressed sighs of his friends and the teasing of Scorcher. In some mysterious way, he had connected with his father. Thank you, Father, he thought. I will not let you down. He closed his eyes, took another deep breath and blew an arch of flame of great beauty and proportion, which landed deep into the marsh at the far side of the finish line. There was a moment of silence and then all the dragons started to slap their wings in approval.
“Bravo! Pass!” exclaimed Prof. Blaze, unable to conceal his own excitement at this incredible turn of events.
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Reader Reviews for "Dragon Quest"
|Reviewed by Nora Ryan
|Excerpt Kirkus Indie Review- Dragon Quest
A misfit dragon’s uphill climb to graduate from Dragon Academy takes an unexpected turn in this fine children’s fantasy.
Ryan, the author of a Caribbean-inspired trilogy for adults, deftly layers her debut children’s book with gentle but effective lessons in empathy and friendship. Throughout this light, lively fantasy, she offers colorful imagery, lightly spun with messages of compassion and respect for others
An engaging story of a sensitive dragon who finds his strength and courage.
Excerpt : Reader’s Favorite Book Review
Nora Ryan’s Dragon Quest is fast paced, interesting and thought-provoking. It is written for children aged eight to ten and is thus an easy read for adults. On the other hand, it is a story that should be read by teens and adults as well, to remind them of the things that are most important in life. As Soot struggles to become a member of the dragon brigade, he learns that how one wins a contest is more important than winning the contest itself.