Review: the Broken Dragon

Tyra loves dragons, and she’s loving starting a new life with her Nanna – but she’s not so sure about starting a new school, especially when she wonders how her classmates might react to her loud and bouncy personality. 

When Tyra accidentally smashes her ‘first day’ gift from Nanna – a beautiful china snow dragon – it feels like everything is going wrong, but could picking up the pieces lead her to something even more special? 

Tyra’s quirky character felt refreshingly different from other young people we meet in children’s books, who are so often outwardly shy and bookish. Tyra knows that “some people think she’s too much,” and this self-awareness feels touching and true – a reminder that confidence isn’t always what it seems.   

Like a terrific trinket that you find hidden in the shelves at the back of a charity shop, there’s so much to treasure about this little story and its energetic illustrations. The celebration of the Japanese art of Kintsugi (repairing ceramics with gold) carries a lovely message about the value of mending and mended things and the child-friendly description of emotions (‘Tyra has stopped feeling bright and shiny inside’) felt just right for younger readers.

The Broken Dragon, by Karen McCombie, illustrated by Anneli Bray (Barrington Stoke)

If you enjoy this story you might also like…

The Curio Collectors, by Eloise Williams, illustrated by Anna Shepeta

Lily, Tom and Ma Hawker are the Curio Collectors, travelling the country and enthralling crowds with their amazing collection of found treasures. 

When an unusual carved shell comes into their possession, it attracts the attention of a young maid who is trying to trace her mother. Lily and Tom pledge to help Flora, but they will need to be on the look-out for another, shadowy figure who is interested in the shell too. 

A delightful and pacey mystery whose appealing cast of characters introduce us to the fascinating, contrasting worlds of Victorian botany and mudlarking.       

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