Cover image for The dragon of Lonely Island
Title:
The dragon of Lonely Island
Author:
Rupp, Rebecca.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
160 pages ; 22 cm
Summary:
Three children spend the summer with their mother on a secluded island where they discover a three-headed dragon living in a cave and learn what it means to be a Dragon Friend.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
710 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 4.0 44066.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.7 9 Quiz: 21964 Guided reading level: R.
ISBN:
9780763604080
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
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Status
Boston Free Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
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Concord Library J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
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Summary

Summary

A beguiling fantasy about the vacation of a lifetime. Hannah, Zachary, and Sarah Emily are spending the summer at their Great Aunt Mehitabel's house on faraway Lonely Island. There, in a cave hidden high above the ocean, they discover a fabulous creature: a glittering three-headed dragon with a kind heart, an unpredictable temper, and a memory that spans 20,000 years. Transported by the magic of the dragon's stories, the children meet Mei-lan, a young girl in ancient China who is called upon to save her village from great danger. They sail the seas in a 19-century ship with cabin boy Jamie Prichett. And, in more recent times, with Hitty and her brother Will, they survive a frightening plane crash on a desert island. In a novel as mysterious and spellbinding as the dragon's stories, Rebecca Rupp explore what three children from the present learn from the past--and from an unlikely, but wise and generous friend.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4^-6. There's a surprisingly sweet, old-fashioned quality about Rupp's story of three children who befriend an ancient, storytelling, three-headed dragon. When 12-year-old Hannah, 10-year-old Zachary, and 8-year-old Sarah Emily move into their great-aunt's house on Lonely Island, they never imagine that her cryptic message to explore Drake's Hill will lead them to Fafnyr, a magnificent golden-skinned "tridrake." Over the course of the summer, each of Fafnyr's heads awakens and tells a story that has a special meaning for one of the children. By the summer's end, the youngsters have each formed special bonds with Fafnyr and learned much about themselves in the process. Rupp's writing is full of rich, sensory images, and Fafnyr's stories within the story are reminiscent of old fairy tales, with quiet heroines, wonderful adventures, and life-changing encounters with dragons. All in all, an entertaining fantasy for preteen readers. --Chris Sherman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing upon standard adventure-fantasy conventions‘an isolated island, a secret room, a mysterious key‘first-time novelist Rupp crafts a series of genial if not altogether original stories-within-a-story. Hannah (12), Zachary (10) and Sarah Emily (eight and a half) travel with their mystery-writing mother to Great-great-aunt Mehitabel's house on an island off the coast of Maine for a summer getaway. Their dashing old aunt isn't there, but the three discover an even more fantastic character‘a tridrake (three-headed dragon) living hidden in a cave. Each of the three heads awakens to tell a story about a child that befriended it in the past. Their stories teach the siblings needed lessons: Hannah comes to accept the responsibilities that come with being eldest by hearing about the travails of underappreciated Mei-lan in ancient China; Zachary learns the value of sharing through the tale of a 19th-century London orphan captured by pirates; and meek Sarah Emily finds gumption after discovering that the once timid Hitty, who learns self-reliance after she, her brother and their father crash-land during an attempt to fly around the world, is in fact Mehitabel. None of the stories is particularly memorable (especially not Mei-lan's, which draws upon one too many hackneyed folktale stereotypes), and the narrative frame, which strives for a classic timelessness, can feel overly tame or quaint. A modest diversion for middle-grade fantasy fans. Ages 8-11. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-Because their mother needs a quiet place to finish her novel, the three Davis children find themselves spending the summer in a Victorian house on a small island off the coast of Maine. A mysterious letter from their elderly Great Aunt Mehitabel, absentee owner of Lonely Island, helps the siblings discover Fafnyr Goldenwings, a three-headed dragon that sleeps deep inside a cave on Drake's Hill. It can be prickly and fussy, but takes pains not to frighten the children, assuring them at once that it is a vegetarian. Over the course of the summer, each head awakes in turn and tells a story about children that the dragon had helped. It drove away invading Mongols from a Chinese girl's village, saved an orphaned boy from the clutches of evil pirates, and rescued a brother and sister marooned on a desert island-but only after the siblings learned to think for themselves. The children learn that the sister in the last story was actually a young Aunt Mehitabel, who offered the dragon a sanctuary on Lonely Island. The Chinese story has the tone of European tales of exotic Cathay and the other two are reminiscent of earlier children's books, when adventures were more jolly than harrowing. This smoothly written confection may be a tad bland and predictable, but it goes down as easily as an entertaining, light read.-Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

They strode along, single file because the old path was so narrow. Sarah Emily hummed as she walked. Zachary paused every once in a while to check directions on his compass. Hannah dabbed sunscreen on her nose. Soon Zachary and Sarah Emily were hungry again-"I can't believe you two, after eating all those doughnuts," said Hannah-so they paused, just at the foot of the hill, for a sandwich (peanut butter and Mrs. Jones's homemade strawberry jam), a cookie, and a drink of lemonade. Zachary's freckles began to come out in the sun. Sarah Emily crumpled the last sandwich wrapper and tucked it back into Zachary's pack. "Let's go to the very top," she said, "and look for China." "Wrong direction and wrong ocean," said Hannah. "Try France." "Or Greenland," said Zachary. "Last one to the top is a rotten egg!" He grabbed the pack and began to run, bounding up the little path, winding in and out around scattered boulders. Hannah and Sarah Emily-shouting "Hey!" and "Wait for me!"-dashed after him. The hill was steeper than it looked. Soon the children were breathless, and one after another they slowed, panting, to a walk. They were hot, and the backs of Sarah Emily's legs began to ache. They staggered up the last few feet and collapsed, laughing, against the huge heap of piled rocks that formed the very peak of Drake's Hill. Zachary raised his fist in triumph. "Excelsior!" he shouted. The view from the hill was spectacular. From their height, they could trace the coast of the island and gaze far out to sea. "I feel like I've just climbed Mount Everest," said Hannah. "Let's get right up on top of these rocks," said Zachary. "Then we'll be able to see everything in both directions." They scrambled up the side of the great heap of gray boulders, scrabbling for footholds as they climbed. The rocks were piled like giant jumbled steps. There were short heaving climbs-Sarah Emily, whose legs were short, needed to be boosted by Zachary and Hannah-then expanses of level flatness, then more steep climbs. At the last flat step, as they approached the peak, they came to a smooth, sheer wall, higher than Hannah's head, with not so much as a crack or a crevice in sight. "Let's go back," said Sarah Emily. "It's too high." But Zachary refused to give up. "Maybe we can get up from the other side," he said. The step-more like a rocky shelf-curved around to the right, almost like a walkway circling the very top of the hill. The children cautiously edged their way around it. Sarah Emily, who hated heights, refused to look down. On the north side of the rock face, the shelf suddenly widened out into a broad platform, high above and overlooking the empty sea. "Look at that!" gasped Sarah Emily. "A cave!" said Zachary. At the back of the stone platform, a wide gaping opening led back into darkness. "Let's go inside," said Zachary eagerly, but Sarah Emily hung back. "Let's not," she said. "There could be anything in there. Bears or something. And besides, it smells funny." Zachary and Hannah sniffed the air. Near the cave entrance, there was a strange odor: the smell of charcoal and smoke, with a hint of something tangier, spicy, alien. "Probably just old campfires," said Zachary. "Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Jones used to come up here and roast marshmallows." He peered blindly into the darkness, then turned to fumble in his backpack. "Just a minute," he said. "I brought my flashlight." He switched it on and cautiously stepped forward into the cave. Sarah Emily and Hannah crowded behind him. The three children, clinging to each other, edged slowly inward. As they moved into the cave, the sound of the sea abruptly shut off, as though someone had thrown a massive switch. The cave floor seemed to slant downward into the hill, and inside, it felt enormous; there was a sense of soaring sub- terranean spaces. Zachary's flashlight barely penetrated the gloom. "It didn't look this big from the outside," Sarah Emily whispered. Groping, they stretched out their arms, left and right, to the sides. "Can anybody feel a wall anywhere?" Zachary asked softly. Nobody could. "This place is simply huge," said Hannah. "The whole inside of the hill must be hollow." "It feels endless," said Sarah Emily nervously. The children shuffled forward, feeling gingerly with their feet. "There could be deep holes," said Sarah Emily. The strange sharp smell-smoke? sulfur?-got stronger. "You know what I wonder?" said Zachary. "Where did this hill get its name anyway? Was the sea captain who built the house named Drake? How come it's called Drake's Hill?" There was a sudden shifting sound from the back of the cave, a heavy sandpapery scraping noise. Then there came a soft hiss in the darkness-the sound of a lighted blowtorch, thought Zachary-and a red-and-yellow flare of flame. The interior of the cave leaped into light. Before the children's astonished eyes, a vast expanse of gold flashed and glittered. There before them lay a long reptilian body, curled comfortably on the cave floor, with a coiled golden tail, ending in a flat arrowhead-shaped point. Two eyes-sharp slits of jade green-glared at them out of the darkness. "It is called Drake's Hill, young man," said a deep, raspy voice, "because drake is an ancient and honorable name for dragon. The hill is named after me." THE DRAGON OF LONELY ISLAND by Rebecca Rupp. Copyright (c) 1998 by Rebecca Rupp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA. Excerpted from The Dragon of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

They strode along, single file because the old path was so narrow. Sarah Emily hummed as she walked. Zachary paused every once in a while to check directions on his compass. Hannah dabbed sunscreen on her nose. Soon Zachary and Sarah Emily were hungry again - "I can't believe you two, after eating all those doughnuts," said Hannah - so they paused, just at the foot of the hill, for a sandwich (peanut butter and Mrs. Jones's homemade strawberry jam), a cookie, and a drink of lemonade. Zachary's freckles began to come out in the sun. Sarah Emily crumpled the last sandwich wrapper and tucked it back into Zachary's pack. "Let's go to the very top," she said, "and look for China."
"Wrong direction and wrong ocean," said Hannah. "Try France."
"Or Greenland," said Zachary. "Last one to the top is a rotten egg!" He grabbed the pack and began to run, bounding up the little path, winding in and out around scattered boulders.
Hannah and Sarah Emily-shouting "Hey!" and "Wait for me!"-dashed after him.
The hill was steeper than it looked. Soon the children were breathless, and one after another they slowed, panting, to a walk. They were hot, and the backs of Sarah Emily's legs began to ache. They staggered up the last few feet and collapsed, laughing, against the huge heap of piled rocks that formed the very peak of Drake's Hill. Zachary raised his fist in triumph. "Excelsior!" he shouted.
The view from the hill was spectacular. From their height, they could trace the coast of the island and gaze far out to sea. "I feel like I've just climbed Mount Everest," said Hannah.
"Let's get right up on top of these rocks," said Zachary. "Then we'll be able to see everything in both directions."
They scrambled up the side of the great heap of gray boulders, scrabbling for footholds as they climbed. The rocks were piled like giant jumbled steps. There were short heaving climbs - Sarah Emily, whose legs were short, needed to be boosted by Zachary and Hannah - then expanses of level flatness, then more steep climbs. At the last flat step, as they approached the peak, they came to a smooth, sheer wall, higher than Hannah's head, with not so much as a crack or a crevice in sight. "Let's go back," said Sarah Emily. "It's too high."
But Zachary refused to give up.
"Maybe we can get up from the other side," he said.
The step - more like a rocky shelf - curved around to the right, almost like a walkway circling the very top of the hill. The children cautiously edged their way around it. Sarah Emily, who hated heights, refused to look down. On the north side of the rock face, the shelf suddenly widened out into a broad platform, high above and overlooking the empty sea.
"Look at that!" gasped Sarah Emily.
"A cave!" said Zachary.
At the back of the stone platform, a wide gaping opening led back into darkness.
"Let's go inside," said Zachary eagerly, but Sarah Emily hung back.
"Let's not," she said. "There could be anything in there. Bears or something. And besides, it smells funny."
Zachary and Hannah sniffed the air. Near the cave entrance, there was a strange odor: the smell of charcoal and smoke, with a hint of something tangier, spicy, alien.
"Probably just old campfires," said Zachary. "Maybe Mr. and Mrs. Jones used to come up here and roast marshmallows." He peered blindly into the darkness, then turned to fumble in his backpack. "Just a minute," he said. "I brought my flashlight."
He switched it on and cautiously stepped forward into the cave. Sarah Emily and Hannah crowded behind him. The three children, clinging to each other, edged slowly inward. As they moved into the cave, the sound of the sea abruptly shut off, as though someone had thrown a massive switch. The cave floor seemed to slant downward into the hill, and inside, it felt enormous; there was a sense of soaring subterranean spaces. Zachary's flashlight barely penetrated the gloom. "It didn't look this big from the outside," Sarah Emily whispered. Groping, they stretched out their arms, left and right, to the sides.
"Can anybody feel a wall anywhere?" Zachary asked softly. Nobody could.
"This place is simply huge," said Hannah. "The whole inside of the hill must be hollow."
"It feels endless," said Sarah Emily nervously.
The children shuffled forward, feeling gingerly with their feet. "There could be deep holes," said Sarah Emily. The strange sharp smell - smoke? sulfur? - got stronger.
"You know what I wonder?" said Zachary. "Where did this hill get its name anyway? Was the sea captain who built the house named Drake? How come it's called Drake's Hill?"
There was a sudden shifting sound from the back of the cave, a heavy sandpapery scraping noise. Then there came a soft hiss in the darkness - the sound of a lighted blowtorch, thought Zachary - and a red-and-yellow flare of flame. The interior of the cave leaped into light. Before the children's astonished eyes, a vast expanse of gold flashed and glittered. There before them lay a long reptilian body, curled comfortably on the cave floor, with a coiled golden tail, ending in a flat arrowhead-shaped point. Two eyes-sharp slits of jade green-glared at them out of the darkness.
"It is called Drake's Hill, young man," said a deep, raspy voice, "because drake is an ancient and honorable name for dragon. The hill is named after me."
_______
The Dragon Of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp. Copyright (c) 2006 by Rebecca Rupp. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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