A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
How a music box works and some of the parts involved watchmaking are mentioned briefly.
You have to move forward in life, even if letting go of the past is hard. Don't be scared of who you are. The value of friendship and loyalty is shown.
Positive Role Models
Heroine Piper, who's 13, models bravery, loyalty, and cleverness. Although she's a bit reckless, she models the ability to do what's needed even if it's hard emotionally or physically. She starts out helping Anna thinking mostly of a monetary reward but quickly learns that there are better, more important, reasons to help someone. Piper and Anna, who's a bit younger, model a sibling-style relationship with Anna hero-worshiping Piper and driving her a little crazy, too. But they're fiercely loyal and devoted to one another. Love interest Gee, who's also 13, models the sterotypical male role of protector and savior. Adults Jeyne and Trimble are supportive and help pick up the pieces.
Violence & Scariness
The heroine and her friends are frequently in enough peril to keep the pages turning at an exciting rate without creating too much tension or dread. Small amounts of blood from injuries are mentioned four or five times, once mentioning the taste of blood in the mouth after being slapped. There are a few physical struggles that are briefly described, and one battle-like description that goes into some detail when bandits attack and try to steal a train's cargo that the heroes are protecting. There are a couple of instances of threatening or brandishing weapons (a knife, a crossbow). The feeling of being choked is briefly described. The slave trade in this fantasy world is mentioned a few times.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A boy's nakedness is mentioned a couple of times, but not described. There's one kiss on the cheek, some hugging, and one incident of hand holding. Piper notices her feelings of attraction to Gee, but doesn't delve into them.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
It's mentioned that adult men chew tobacco, and once the smell of cigar is mentioned. Piper sways "like a drunk man" to demonstrate something. A fictional tranquilizer in powder form is described that paralyzes the victim while they're still conscious.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Mark of the Dragonfly is an exciting fantasy page-turner that's fine for preteens. The excitement comes partly from mild violence: The heroes are frequently in peril, a battle-like confrontation with bandits is described, there are a few physical struggles, a couple of times people are threatened with weapons, and blood is mentioned briefly four or five times. Sexual content is very mild: one kiss on the cheek and once Piper and Gee hold hands.
Is It Any Good?
Jayleigh Johnson makes a thrilling, inventive YA debut with THE MARK OF THE DRAGONFLY. The fantasy world is richly imagined with convincing detail. The characters are well fleshed out, fully realized, and easy to relate to. She deftly combines elements of steampunk, fantasy creatures, and magical abilities. The adventure is exciting and well plotted to keep the pages turning for a wide range of ages and interests.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.