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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
Astrid’s Dragon by Karen Christian is a delightful, humorous, fantasy adventure story for readers about ages 6-8. Younger children can also enjoy it, even if they’re not reading yet, since it has many illustrations and is well-suited to reading aloud. Astrid, an ordinary princess, lives in an ordinary fantasy kingdom—ordinary except that it has no dragons. When a dragon swoops in unexpectedly from another kingdom, burning up a field, everyone is worried and Astrid is ordered to stay inside. She sneaks out of the castle and finds herself kidnapped by the dragon and taken to his lair. In a series of funny, light-hearted adventures, Astrid learns that the dragon is not the menace he seems to be—and she must inform her parents before it’s too late.
As far as princesses, dragons, children, and fun go, this book was just about perfect. Parents are likely to find their kid is drawn to it repeatedly like a magnet, and the adults might enjoy it too because it’s spontaneously addictive. It would make a great read-aloud, with a parent doing all the voices, and there’s a lot of room to improvise and entertain kids because the gentle comedy and peaceful-but-faintly-zany world of Astrid’s Dragon have plenty of layers and character development. Astrid has a lot of personality, as do her parents, the dragon Fafnir, and his hilarious, domineering mother. The story flows naturally in a bubbling stream of tension, banter, surprises, let-downs, and all-round charm until the world gains a reality hard to achieve in such a short book. I could easily read a hundred stories about Princess Astrid and her kingdom. Karen Christian is a children’s author I’d highly recommend.