Raise the drawbridge for a story-within-a-story melding classic fairy-tale trappings with contemporary, tongue-in-cheek wit, abundantly illustrated in black-and-white—a perfect family read.
Noble children Thomas and Emily have always known their mother to be sensible, the lady of the castle—if anything, a bit boring. But then they discover Meg, a cranky scribe who lives in the castle basement, leading a quirky group of artists in producing party invitations and other missives for the nobles above. Meg claims that she was a friend of their mother’s back when the two were kids—even before the dragon lived in the castle. Wait—a dragon? Not sure they can believe Meg’s tales, the kids return again and again to hear the evolving, fantastical story of their mother’s escapades (while putting their fussiest penmanship to work) and get caught up in a quest to reunite the onetime friends.
Kidnapping, fighting, a ferocious dragon, loyal elves, and true love . . . coupled with squabbling siblings, archery practice gone amiss, and ill-fated dives into the moat . . . This multilayered story blends adventure and humor, medieval tropes and modern sensibility, in a satisfying read for the whole family.