A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this Middle Ages-set book has many descriptive scenes in which women are cruelly mistreated. The main character's father beats her so regularly that she's deaf in one ear; it's permanently swollen and shaped like a cauliflower. Witchcraft and evil spells are discussed. People who are accused of being witches are taken to chambers and tortured, burned at the stake, or hung to death.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Tess is a 17-year-old girl who looks to Dragonswood, the forbidden woodlands of her kingdom, to escape the iron fists of her father. When Tess is seen frolicking in the forbidden fields with her two best friends, Meg and Poppy, she's immediately accused of witchery and reported to Adele, the witch hunter. After Tess is brutally tortured (in an effort to extract a confession that her powers derive from her being a witch), she and her two best friends escape the kingdom to live in Dragonswood among the fairies and fire-breathing dragons. Along the way, Tess, Meg, and Poppy learn that the magical prophecy that Tess' grandfather relayed might hold some truth. The three girls embark on an adventure that uncovers the truth about themselves, their families, and their divided kingdom.
Is it any good?
A medieval fable filled with fairies, dragons, princes, and princesses, this is a wonderful, thought-provoking fairy tale that encourages discussion about diversity and otherness. Dragonswood proves that with faith and education, people can rise above the economic echelon they're born into and find success. The story also stresses the importance of environmental awareness and preserving the woodlands, along with all the creatures that inhabit them.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about fantasy as a genre. What do the dragons, fairies, and humans symbolize?
Talk about the difference between medieval and current times. Why were people in the Middle Ages so afraid of women who were healers/doctors and so quick to accuse women of being witches?
What are the book's messages about diversity and acceptance? Why are people often afraid of things/people who are different?
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