Prairie books NOW reviews Draco’s Child

 Books Now review header
Books Now review header

by Perry Grosshans

It’s true that teenagers have a lot to deal with.

But not many have to survive on a hostile planet, watch their mother change back into a child, and raise a baby dragon. That’s what 14-year-old Varia has to deal with in Sharon Plumb’s novel for young adults, Draco’s Child.

Varia is part of a group of colonists who left a polluted Earth to live on a distant planet known as The Kettle. Every day is a test of survival, as they struggle to live in a fungus-infested world. One day, the colonists are found by a mysterious being, a star-child named Specto, who promises to help them. But Varia is unsure, especially when everyone, including her mother, starts to physically change. Varia feels that their real salvation will come from the dragon she has secretly raised and named Galatea. But as she begins to go through her own changes, she discovers she must make choices no normal teenager would dream of.

Draco’s Child has a number of layers to it, most of which started with one question.
“What would happen if people started to shrink back into children?” Plumb asks. “In particular, what would it be like to be a young person whose parents were shrinking, so the family roles were reversed? Who would make decisions? Who would take care of whom? And how would it feel?”

Changes, like the physical transformation of the colonists or the decisions and choices that Varia needs to make, are important topics in Plumb’s book. “I see the target audience as teenagers who are changing physically and emotionally,” Plumb says, “and figuring out where they fit in their communities, families, and the world at large.

“Varia’s world is changing all around her, and what she becomes in the end depends on the choices she makes. Growing up is a tumultuous experience, and I think readers of this age will be able to relate to Varia’s dilemmas and the ways she tries to solve them.”

Like the colonists, the planet itself goes through changes, both in the past and thanks to Varia and her community. For Plumb, this became central after she read Magical Mushrooms, Mischievous Moulds by George W. Hudler.

“It was fascinating,” she says. “I had no idea before reading it that fungi could transform plants so they look entirely different, or what a crucial role they play in the growth of trees. I realized that fungi were key to what was happening on the planet I had invented.”

Plumb’s central character Varia experiences a lot of change, through her relationships with her community, her family, and the fungi planet. She learns to make difficult choices, and she doesn’t always make the correct choices right away.

Plumb hopes her readers “will come away with the sense that although it can be difficult to make good choices, or even to know what good choices are, it is never too late to recover from mistakes.”

~~~article reprinted with permission from Prairie Books Now.

Draco’s Child

Draco's Child, by Sharon Plumb
Draco’s Child, by Sharon Plumb

Author: Sharon Plumb
Publisher: Thistledown Press, 2010
ISBN: ISBN 978-1-897235-70-6

In this young adult fantasy novel, teenage Varia lives in a settlement of transplanted humans who have escaped a polluted Earth to live on a distant planet. With half of their group missing and their crops failing, the settlers accept the help of Specto, the star child, a powerful entity who offers them survival — at a price.  Varia is horrified by the strange transformation affecting the star child’s followers, but she has no idea what to do until she discovers a dragon’s egg. With a fully-grown dragon, Varia will be able to find the lost settlers and drive away the star child—but only if she can keep the dragon under control. Her quest is complicated when she too begins to change into something new. She must make difficult choices to save the settlers, the dragon, and herself.

Draco’s Child explores what it means to grow up in a hostile world where the only constant is change, and what you become depends on what you believe. The novel explores themes of making decisions and recovering from bad choices, living in harmony with nature, growing up, and responsibility to family and community.

See Reviews at Prairie Books NowAmazon.comgoodreads, Star Phoenix, Saskatchewan Publishers Group.

Order from Chapters-Indigo,, or

Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof

Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof, by Sharon Plumb Hamilton
Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof, by Sharon Plumb Hamilton

Author: Sharon Plumb Hamilton
Illustrator: Ted Hammond
Publisher: Scholastic Literary Place for the Early Years, 2006

Bill Bruin’s bathroom door won’t open because there is too much snow on his roof, so he can’t have his hot, bubbly bath. But will he get it all cleared off before the sun goes down?

This book is available only to schools as part of a complete Grade 2 classroom set or in guided reading packages of six books. Each package comes with a teacher’s guide.

Order from Scholastic Canada. Click on “Education” on the left sidebar, then type the book title into the search bar.