Flashback Fridays: Here be Dragons . . . .
Posted by Stephanie Whelan
Your one of three siblings whose family has been charged with caring for the last dragon in the land. But now that dragon has produced a nest of eggs and people–dangerous people–want to lay claim to them. Suddenly you find yourself on the run with the very last of the precious dragon eggs . . .
Do you remember:
Children of the Dragon by Rose Estes (Random House, 1985)
Three siblings are left on their own to try and protect one of the last dragon eggs when evil and greedy men decide to kill the dragon and the children’s parents (I think). They go on the run through caves and caverns trying to escape pursuit and protect the little blue egg that’s left to their care. The villain, meanwhile, has destroyed all the eggs except a huge black egg that he keeps. The book ends with both eggs hatching, one bonding with the youngest sibling, the other bonding with the villain.
To this day I have to wonder if this was supposed to be the first book in a series. The book ends on a huge cliff hanger that had me at 10 years old going “and? . . . and? . . ” We’ve been waiting for the dragon eggs to hatch, but once they do, the story simply ends, and readers are left wondering. Frankly, it’s a terrible thing to do to readers. I’ve always been a tad irritable when a book has this kind of cliffhanger, but to not even have a follow up? Disappointing. The story itself is full of fairly familiar fantasy tropes and trials. It’s the kind of book that does not age well with the reader–looking back on it now I don’t think I’d enjoy the story near so much. But being an inexperienced fantasy reader when I first encountered the book, it was my introduction to many of the tropes and elements of such fantasy stories
This was my first fantasy read that introduced me to the idea of bonding with dragons (before Anne McCaffrey). The idea that a human present at the time a dragon hatched could bond on a telepathic level with the creature was something new, something I hadn’t encountered before and it fascinated me. This was the book that started my shift from an interest in unicorns, to an interest in dragons.
This was the first children’s novel Rose Estes published, though she had been writing stories for the Dungeons and Dragons game for years and participated in writing the D&D choose-your-own-adventure style novels, The Endless Quest. She also worked on a series for kids called Find Your Fate Mysteries done in a similar format that featured popular book characters, The Three Investigators.
Have any of you read this one? How did you feel about the ending?
If you haven’t read it, have you encountered any other children’s stories that leave the reader hanging and never resolve?
About Stephanie WhelanI'm a children's librarian with a life-long love of all things science fiction and fantasy.
Posted on March 29, 2014, in Flashback Fridays, General Posts and tagged Authors, Books, Children's Literature, fantasy, Genres, literature, MG Books, Middle-Grade Fiction. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.