Dragons and Marshmallows: Zoey and Sassafras, Book 1

Book review by
Carrie Kingsley, Common Sense Media
Dragons and Marshmallows: Zoey and Sassafras, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Girl solves fun mystery with science, magic, and her cat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Information about the scientific process and animal eating habits, and good examples of compassion and empathy.

Positive Messages

Be confident to take on new challenges. Research possibilities and test hypotheses, and be compassionate. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Zoey's parents are extremely kind and supportive, and her mom's confidence in Zoey's ability to think through problems and do the right thing shows great trust.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dragons and Marshmallows, the first in Asia Citro's Zoey and Sassafras series, is the sweet tale of a girl who can see magical creatures and uses science to help them heal. Young Zoey's relationship with each of her parents is delightful, and there's a huge amount of trust and support among them all. There's a nice moment about learning to let go of something when the time is right, and how it's both difficult and necessary. Information about the scientific process and how to use what you know to learn about the unknown is sprinkled throughout the book, and there's a helpful glossary at the end. 

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What's the story?

In DRAGONS AND MARSHMALLOWS, young Zoey discovers that she shares an amazing trait with her mom: She can see magical animals, and they ring a secret bell at her house when they need help. When her mom is on a work trip and an injured baby dragon appears, Zoey and her cat Sassafras have to figure out how to help it recover. They use science and follow the same processes over and over trying to get their new dragon friend, Marshmallow, healthy enough to survive in the wild.

Is it any good?

Filled with heart and brains, this start to the Zoey and Sassafrass series is a fun read with just the right mix of science and fantasy. Dragons might only exist in the fantasy realm, but author Citro uses them to show how it's possible to learn a lot about something starting only with a small bit of information and educated guesses. In Dragons and Marshmallows, Zoey delightfully blends science and magic into her otherwise normal life, which makes it easier for young readers to relate to her questions, frustrations, and feelings about saying goodbye to something she cares about.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what is would be like to have a gift like Zoey's in Dragons and Marshmallows. Do you think it's the kind of thing you could keep secret? What would happen if people found out?

  • If this gift were real, who in your family do you think would have it, and why?

  • What do you wonder about that you could find answers for using the methods Zoey did?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science and early reader series

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