Booktalk for THE DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART by Stephanie Burgis

Aventurine is tired of being kept cooped up in her family’s mountainside cavern. She won’t be allowed outside until her scales harden…in another 30 years.

Aventurine is a young dragon, and most young dragons spend their early, quiet years learning everything they can about some subject that interests them. Aventurine’s older sister mastered twenty languages and wrote epic poetry. Her brother Jasper doesn’t complain about staying in the cavern because he’s happy reading philosophy books written by silly humans.

Unlike her siblings, Aventurine hasn’t found her passion yet, and it’s boring sitting on a mound of jewels all day. One afternoon, after an argument with her mom about this, she decides to prove she can take care of herself outside— even if her scales are a bit soft.

So while her mother, grandfather and aunts are all napping after a big hunt, and Jasper is completely oblivious with his snout in a book, Aventurine slips into one of the tunnels that leads outside to the wide blue sky and tingling fresh air.

Within hours, she discovers her passion — it’s chocolate. Sweet, luscious, delicious, blissful chocolate.

She also, however, gets herself transformed from a dragon into a 12-year-old human girl. Oooooh, she is so mad. She would tear that wily magician to shreds — if she still had her fifty sharp teeth and all her claws. But she doesn’t. She’s lost her fire, her wings, and her crimson and gold scales. She can’t go back home, and she doesn’t know how she’s going to survive as a puny human.

The only thing she’s certain of, is that she absolutely must find more chocolate.

 

Genre: fantasy.

Grades 4-7.

 

Anna’s take on it:

I love this book. It nails the voice of a fearsome chocolate-loving dragon who gets transformed, against her will, into a 12-year-old human girl. Her outrage at being stripped of her wings, claws, teeth, and fire runs deep. It’s a funny book, and kids have been responding well to it. I used it with the fifth and sixth graders last fall and fourth graders in the spring. Perhaps driven by my own enthusiasm for the title, it often got mentioned as a top favorite.

My only hesitation about the book: it’s probably not the best thing to read if you’re trying to give up chocolate.