Ancient, Strange, and Lovely
By Susan Fletcher
Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2010. 315 pp. Juvenile fiction.
In this modern day continuation of Susan Fletcher's Dragon Chronicle series, Bryn and her young sister, Piper, carry on the traditional talent of kenning, or communicating mentally with birds. Her mother has disappeared without a word while carrying on scientific research in Alaska, and now the girls' father has also left to join in the search. Left alone with their aunt as temporary guardian, Bryn discovers a strange egg with some of her mother's research items. When the egg hatches suddenly, Bryn's life is changed forever as she struggles to care for and protect a baby dragon from the dangers of her world and those who would harm the creature.
I read and loved all the previous books in this series growing up, and it was a delight to read a new installment! I enjoyed the mix of modern and ancient and also liked the references to my home, Alaska. Something I missed in this book was more of a magical element--I would have liked to see more of a focus on Bryn's kenning ability and have the connection between her and the dragon further developed. The scientific elements were very interesting and a great addition to the story. All in all, this was a fast and delightful read and a must for anyone who's read the previous books. It also works as a stand-alone; no previous knowledge is needed to fully enjoy this modern-day dragon story.