New Books: Dragon Slippers

Dragon Slippers
By Jessica Day George
I had a fine new pair of shoes and was on my way to the King’s Seat to find work. It was the stuff of fairy tales.
Of course, in fairy tales, the young heroine did not get too hot and feel sweat running down the back of her neck and into her bodice.

Technically, I guess Dragon Slippers isn’t a new book—it was the first book from the author of Tuesdays at the Castle—but since it got a much-deserved relaunch recently with a fancy new cover design and since a lot of people (including me) missed it when it first came out, I think it belongs to this series.

Creel is not your typical heroine. When her impoverished family decides to sacrifice her to the local dragon in the hopes that a wealthy knight will rescue her, marry her, and allow the whole clan to prosper, Creel discovers that the local dragon has zero interest in holding damsels hostage or battling questing knights. She seizes the opportunity, borrows a pair of mysterious blue shoes from her reluctant captor, and sets off for the capital with only a bit of embroidery thread and her wits to guide her. En route, she befriends another dragon and begins to brainstorm ideas for finding work sewing and eventually opening her own shop. Creel has no desire to be a princess—an idea that’s reinforced when she has an unfortunate encounter with the spoiled, arrogant princess who’s betrothed to her country’s crown prince. The crown prince himself is pretty nice, Creel discovers, when she unknowingly makes friends with his younger brother and finds herself caught up in a political power struggle between two kingdoms, with the allegiance of the dragons and the safety of her realm at stake. Though she’d rather be making pretty dresses, Creel knows she has to do what she can to help her kingdom and the dragons who have become her friends.

This is a delightful, girl-powered story—and one in which the heroine doesn’t have to become a warrior to save the day. Creel is consistently, awesomely herself throughout this book—she changes and grows, of course, but in normal, everyday ways that normal, everyday people change and grow. She’s intelligent and resourceful, good at her job, and willing to stick her neck out when she believes in something, whether it’s dealing with a mean girl at work or coming up with a plan to get the dragons on the right side of the coming war. There’s a little light romance, but Creel isn’t looking for a Prince Charming—she’s much more excited about the prospect of opening up her own shop. I was afraid I’d be constantly comparing this book to Dealing with Dragons (which I adore), but other than the fact that book books include friendships between girls and dragons, the two are really nothing at all alike.

We did this as a readaloud and then my daughter reread it on her own, so I feel safe recommending it. (And it’s a series! I can’t wait to pick up the next installment.)

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