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Book By Chris D’Lacey Book Flyer By Autumn Powell

Theme The theme of the book is all about squirrels to me. I believe the real cover is a little misleading. It’s all about this boy named David who moves in with this family while he goes off to college. The owner of the house, Liz Pennykettle, gladly lets David stay with her and Lucy, her daughter. Liz earns her living by making clay dragons, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding them. Lucy loves squirrels, and brings it on David to help her catch a blind-in-one-eye gray squirrel she named Conker. As a welcome present, David gets a free dragon from Liz. He names the dragon Gadzooks and learns that he is a writing dragon, a dragon who is going to help him find inspiration to write stories. Finally David and Lucy catch Conker and another squirrel named Snigger; presumably Snigger plays a part in saving Conker after Lucy asks him too, takes them to the local animal shelter, where a girl, Sophie (who David has a crush on), works. She takes both the squirrels in and Lucy tells Sophie that David is writing a story. Sophie is interested in reading it and promises she'll call when she has news about Conker. Sophie calls after a few days and comes over with good and bad news about Conker. Conker's not really blind, but he has kidney failure and is going to die. Later, Conker dies and David is so sad that he fights with Gadzooks and causes him to cry his fire tear. Luckily David catches it and rekindles his friend. He then gets a message from Gadzooks telling him how to finish his story.

My Opinion Did the author try to teach me something? I think so. Even though it seems like this entire book is over saving the squirrels, I feel that the connection Lucy had with her dragons teaches a person something. I feel that it teaches you that sometimes you have to look deep down inside the things that make you comfortable to really understand things. “’That’s Guinevere,’ said Lucy in a deferential whisper. ‘She’s sort of the queen. She’s Mom’s special dragon’” (D’Lacey 35) I also think that the author was trying to tell us that believing can bring magical experiences. Sometimes, just focusing on facts doesn’t let you see the truth and power in things. “’What do you mean, he ‘wanted’ a pencil?’ ‘Special dragons are like characters in a book…’” (D’Lacey 37)

About the Author He was born in Valetta, Malta, but as a child moved first to Leicester and then to Bolton. After gaining a degree in biology from the University of York, he returned to Leicester and got a job at the University of Leicester in their PreClinical Sciences department. Originally his writing was confined to songs and he didn't turn to fiction until he was 32. His first piece of work was a 250,000 word story about polar bears for his wife, Jay, to accompany a stuffed polar bear he had bought her as a Christmas present. He didn't write another story for seven years, until he heard about a competition to write a story for young children with a prize of ÂŁ2,000. The resulting book, A Hole at the Pole, also about polar bears, didn't win - but he sent it off to a publisher, who accepted it. His first children's novel, Fly, Cherokee, Fly, was published in 1998 and subsequently shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. It was inspired by the time he found an injured pigeon in Victoria Park and nursed it back to health at home. It became a family pet and lived for 14 years in a birdbox attached to the back of the house. All of its offspring were given the names of different Native American tribes, which is where the title of the book comes from.) He has since written over twenty children's books, including Pawnee Warrior, a sequel to Fly, Cherokee, Fly, a collaborative novel with fellow children's author Linda Newbery From E To You, and the best-selling, award-winning The Last Dragon Chronicles. His books often contain environmental themes, and events based on things that have happened to him. In July 2002 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Leicester for his contributions to children's literature. Although writing is now his main source of income, he still works at the university as the operator of the confocal microscope. His favorite children's books are the Paddington Bear series and The Hobbit, and his favorite children's authors are Allan Ahlberg and Roald Dahl. Chris D'Lacey has written many books like Ice Fire and Fire Star, but his most famous book was Dark Fire, the fifth book in The Last Dragon Chronicles.

Teaser When David moves in with Liz and Lucy, he discovers a collection of hand crafted, clay dragons that comes to life and has magical powers. David's personalized dragon, Gadzooks, can forecast the future, and inspires him to write a story which reveals the truth behind an unsolved mystery close to home. The story has an unhappy ending, and when David realizes the consequences of it he is angry. Then David finds Gadzooks crying and near death, and he discovers that these special dragons die when they are not loved. Soon David is forced to save his friend and unlock the powers of the fire within. How? You have to read the book to find out!

The Fire Within  

IRA Book Project