The cover pulled me in from the get go. When I heard the story was partially set in my home state, I couldn’t resist. The story begins in Colorado Springs where Willow lives with her mother and the newly arrived uncle and cousins. The dragon lives nearby in Cheyenne Mountain where very few know of its existence or the six other dragons stashed away across the globe.
In the real world Cheyenne Mountain is a great place to take out of town guests. The world famous Broadmoor Resort is there and a also a great zoo. More intriguing is what is inside Cheyenne Mountain – NORAD – the military center watching the skies over North America. You can’t get in there anymore but I did back in the late 90’s on an educator tour.
I’m looking forward to another visit to Cheyenne Mountain after reading THE DRAGON WHISTLER. It’s an exciting adventure wrought with mystery and fun moments. Readers will also enjoy the other setting as 12-year-old Willow and Cousins Ben and Marcus take a dragon flight to England in an attempt to basically save the world.
Smart and believable characters make this tale a winning title for any young reader looking for a magical ride. The final pages also set up a much anticipated sequel with Texas as the new location.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2015 PAGE COUNT: 216
FULL PLOT (From AMAZON) Willow McLain thinks dragons exist only in fairy tales…until she accidentally wakes one from a thousand-year hibernation. Who knew sneaking away from summer camp with her cousin Ben to explore an old abandoned hotel could land them, and their entire town, in danger of becoming dragon flambé? Who could have guessed that the slender whistle carved from bone Willow found in the hotel attic was stolen from a secret order of Dragon Guardians who’d spent the last thousand years watching over seven hibernating dragons? Now, as one of the dragon’s “Whistlers,” Willow is the only one who can play the magical tunes that control her. Too bad things don’t return to normal once Willow lures the dragon back into her den. And when one of the Guardians turns evil, planning to use all seven dragons to control the legendary Dragon Treasure, Willow must wake her dragon again to help protect mankind’s only source of hope.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT: THE DRAGON WHISTLER (Secrets of the Soul Treasure) by Kimberly J. Smith
- There is a strong sense of family. Willow’s parents are divorced and her cousins’ mother tragically passed away. Little do they know at the start how close they will become by the end.
- Music is the key for the entire story. Violinist Willow learns to play the whistle she and Ben found in an abandoned hotel and that is what initially wakens the nearby dragon. Ben is a drummer and his skills also come into play. Two very different kids who connect via music.
- With a touch of international intrigue, the plot is imaginative and balances the fantasy and real life elements nicely.
- The book begins with the unexpected when a dragon blasts through the mountain. The next chapters delve into what happened in the week before to cause this event to happen. It’s a great way to bring the story to life.
- Dragons. That pretty much says it all. Fantasy loving kids can’t get enough of dragons in their choice of books and they can’t go wrong with this one.
FAVORITE LINES: Drynfyre didn’t respond, swinging her head toward the back of the cave. She snorted a ball of flame. Willow shrieked. The work crew scattered as the fireball exploded against the back wall, high over their heads. Drynfyre shook her head like a horse. Sorry. I had a tickle in my nose.
AUTHOR BIO: Kimberly J. Smith writes novel for children and is an advertising creative director with 20+ years of experience telling brand stories for companies both large and small. Her passion for storytelling extends into children’s literature where she loves to tell tales with a twist on familiar legends–be they dragons, ghosts, or fairytales. A voracious reader of many genres, her favorite stories (both to read and to write) tend to revolve around those that reveal the fantastical hidden within the folds of reality.
Born and raised in Colorado, and a graduate of Colorado State University, she now resides in North Texas with her husband and two sons.
Make a comment if you have time. I enjoy reading all of them. Click on the comments link below.
Check the links to other Middle Grade novels over at Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.
Sounds like this will be a hit with the dragon. That does sound like an action-packed way to start the story with the dragon coming out of the mountain and then going back to tell what happened to have that happen. Not all stories get to the action so quickly.
Dragon books are great. Thanks for recommending this one! Thanks for telling us about the family relationship: I enjoy them as well. Have a nice week!
How cool that you found a book set in your home state! And interesting that you were able to get inside NORAD in the 90s. Kids love action-packed stories. And dragons always seem to be popular.
This sounds like such an amazing read! The cover does grab your attention. Interesting family dynamics. And, I love that music awakens the dragon – thus the journey begin. I’ve been inside NORAD, use to take community leaders there on civic leader tours in the 90s. Dragons, Cheyenne Mountain and NORAD, interesting.
Interesting indeed! Maybe we crossed paths back then. Quite the place and this was a fun story to review.
Bring on the Dragons! Thanks for posting this. As you know I’m keen on any story with one of these magical beasts in it. European or Asian.
Thanks for featuring this one! I absolutely LOVE dragons, hopefully my library has it!
This sounds like a great read! I haven’t read any fantasy for a while and I really enjoy fantasy that’s balanced in real life. And dragons! Always fascinating.
I really like that it’s set in a real place. Dragons in Colorado! I also liked what you said about the focus on family and the musical aspect. This sounds like a great read!
this sounds like a story I simply MUST read! You have 100% caught my attention. 😀 Thanks for the recommend!
You had me at a “dragon flight to England!”
I love that music is so important to the plot, and I love the idea of dragons in the Colorado mountains! Because, of course they would be there! (Have you read Robin McKinley’s Dragonhaven? She doesn’t specify where the dragon reserve is located (I don’t think—it’s been a while since I read it), but to me it sure sounds like somewhere in the Rockies.)