Monday, March 13, 2017

Ella and Owen: The Cave of AAAAAH! DOOM!

Ella and Owen: The Cave of Aaaaah! Doom!
written by Jaden Kent; illustrated by Iryna Bodnaruk
2017 (Little Bee Books)
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

And when fire-breathing dragons sneeze, you had better run for cover....

Pickled-fish popsicles. Ogre toenails. Evil wizards made of vegetables. Ingredients for a bubbly brew? No, more like components of a highly enjoyable early reader. Owen the dragon has a bad cold. All he wants to do is stay in bed and read, but it's a little dangerous in his room since he breathes fire when he sneezes. So how do you cure a cold? Chicken soup and rest? Ella, Owen's sister, has a better idea. A trip to a secret cave where she says a dragon wizard has the answer to what ails Owen. With the opportunity to collect ogre toenails, Owen is persuaded to leave the safety of his room. Ella tends to fly by the seat of her scales, so she doesn't reveal that their destination is named Aaaah! Doom! Along the way, they meet a sprite and a dragon eating ogre who nearly makes a meal of them. Fortunately, the ogre share a common fear with a famous monster which allows the dragon duo to escape. Once in the cave, they encounter two truly weird villains. The first one has fangs and smells of breakfast. A thousand guesses probably would not have revealed that it is a Wicked Wizard Waffle. Not foiled by a vat of maple syrup, instead it takes an off key version of a holiday classic to thwart this creepy cake. I've seen strange sightings in late night breakfast restaurants, but nothing tops this. Except for a large pat of butter. The second bizarre bad guy the fire spewing siblings confront has a broccoli body with celery arms and carrot legs. It is the dreaded vegetable wizard Orlock Morlock. Will the young dragons escape his cauliflower clutches?

Reading Ella and Owen will be a hilarious ride for early chapter book readers. The imaginations of Jaden Kent (Tom Mason+ Dan Danko) run wild to the benefit of all of us. Why have a cardboard scoundrel when you can have a menacing breakfast entree? Continental hotel breakfasts may never be the same. This new series promises more danger and delightful oddball humor in future books.

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