128. The Dragons of Ordinary Farm

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale
Illustrated by Greg Swearingen
Ordinary Farm, Book 1

Pages: 412
Ages: 10+
Finished: Jul. 19 2009
First Published: May 25,'09
Genre: children, fantasy
Rating: 4/5

First sentence:

Colin tested the parlor door.

Reason for Reading: When I heard Tad Williams had a book out for juveniles, I was so going to be reading it. I received a Review Copy from Harper Collins Canada.

Comments: Tyler and Lucinda are sent to spend the summer with their incredibly old great uncle (whom they've never met) while their mother goes on a singles retreat. Not looking forward at all to farm life: where will she go shopping? will there be electricity to recharge his hand-held gamer? they are reluctant guests. Upon arrival they quickly see that this is no ordinary farm, all the farm hands and kitchen staff talk with strange accents and seem as though they come from various far away countries. Then on their first day they are shown around the farm and meet the inhabitants: unicorns, basilisks, a flying monkey, cockatrices, baby griffins, a couple of dragons and many more fantastic creatures. Tyler and Lucinda are sworn to secrecy but are only given small pieces of information at a time leaving them full of questions with no answers. So they take to exploring on their own at night and find some incredible answers and mysterious clues to a secret from the past as they also learn that the farm itself and the dragons are in danger.

Well, I just loved this book. A setting filled with fantastic creatures is a sure bet I'm going to have some fun. Lucinda and Tyler both started off as rather annoying kids as they were portrayed as a typical brother and sister who spend most of their time together annoying each other and being sarcastic. As they are brought together at the farm for the first time where they have to live together, work together and count on each other their relationship (and attitudes) grow and develop. The eccentric cast of supporting characters is a riot from Great Uncle Gideon who always wears his pajamas and house coat to Mrs. Needle, Gideon's assistant with strange powers who cannot be completely trusted to Ragnar, a powerhouse of a Scandinavian. The plot is not exactly fast-paced. The first half of the book spends a lot of time in the kids enjoying their new exciting surroundings, getting to know the fascinating people and slowly unraveling the mysteries. The troubles slowly mount until a pivotal point where the action picks up and the second half of the book has a plot full of action as events unfold at a faster-pace and reveals follow one another.

I had a great time reading this. I loved the motley crew of characters. The plot is a lot of fun and the dragon side story is unique and well, who doesn't love a good dragon story? The story is nicely wrapped up yet there is a bigger plot running along which will continue through the series and the book leaves us with a satisfying ending but also knowing the children will be returning to Ordinary Farm again.

Get in at the start with this series folks, it's quite likely, imho, that this is going to become a popular one. I'm really looking forward to book two.

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  1. I'm going to have to pick this one up for my boys - it sounds like something they would love!

  2. Carrie - I especially think this one is going to appeal to boys. Hope they enjoy it!


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