The Dragons of Ordinary Farm by Tad Williams & Deborah Beale - Book Review

There’s been more than a fair amount of dragon tales for children so when I picked up The Dragons of Ordinary Farm, I wasn’t expecting much. More dragons, more dragon riders, more cute kids….. But The Dragons of Ordinary Farm has a unique premise that sets it apart from the rest. It might have been better titled The Creatures of Ordinary Farm.

Tyler & Lucinda are none too thrilled to be shipped off to their long lost uncle’s farm for the summer while their mother’s off concentrating on her dating life. But Ordinary Farm is no ordinary farm and the siblings soon realize their summer will be more than just baling hay and milking cows. It seems there be dragons, and lots of other fantastical creatures, crossing over into our world from a secret portal located on Ordinary Farm.

The Dragons of Ordinary Farm is an original story, dotted with interesting characters. The beginning chapters introduce a motley crew from distant parts of the world with odd stories that don’t quite seem to gel. The foreshadowing is abundant and pulls us along as we attempt to figure out what all the many characters might be. Young Colin is especially intriguing and sets up a possible romantic match for pre-teen Lucinda. However, the most perplexing character is Uncle Gideon himself. Is he crazy, mean or just a grief stricken widow?

Though The Dragons of Ordinary Farm is filled with interesting characters and an ending that really packs a wallop, I do have a couple tiny criticisms. The first few chapters work well, but once the kids get to Ordinary Farm, the set-up takes a bit too long. Rumor has it that this is a five part series so I’m thinking this might just be character/world building. However, considering the targeted age group, we need to get to the action faster (I guess I should have been an editor, because this sort of thing drives me mad). I feel simplistically compelled to also add that I like the other covers sooooo much better. The US cover is really misleading (as was the title for that matter). If you get a student who begins to lag about a third of the way in, tell him it gets better really soon!

All in all, The Dragons of Ordinary Farm is a worthy addition for students interested in fantasy and/or action-adventure stories. The fantasy reader will be held rapt and the action-adventure reader reader will find lots to like too. The ending really packs a wallop and leaves enough room for a sequel or five.

Recommended for classroom libraries & school media centers serving students from 8-14 years of age.

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Genre: Fantasy & Mystery. Age: Ages 9 - 12. Pages: 416.

Themes: Action-Adventure, Hero Quest, Strength of Character
Thank you to Harper Collins Children for my advanced copy.
Publisher: Harper Collins. Date: June 2009.
ISBN-10: 0061543454 - ISBN-13: 978-0061543456

Buy The Dragons of Ordinary Farm Here

See three different covers on Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews

Tad Williams and Deborah Beale live in the San Francisco area with their children and lots of pets. Deborah is originally from London where she was a children's book editor. You can read more about lots of other fantasy books by Tad Williams on his website: HERE.

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

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