5 Hearts · MG & Kids Lit

Sign of the Green Dragon by C. Lee Mckenzie

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Three plucky sleuths. A crumbling skeleton. A buried treasure.

After six months in a new school, Sam’s finally fitting in. He’s the one kid with enough talent to hit the winning home run and bring the baseball trophy back to Haggarty Elementary. But Sam’s guardian is shipping him off to boarding school before that can happen.

When teammates, Joey and Roger, hear his bad news, they plot to hide him until the big game. Their secret cave is a perfect place until an earthquake shatters a wall and reveals a wooden chest with a red-eyed dragon carved into its top. Inside, a bony hand clutches a map with a note, promising treasure.

With Joey and Roger, Sam sets off to track down the clues and hopefully discover treasure. When some puzzle pieces start to make sense, the boys become lost in a labyrinth of underground tunnels, trapped by dangerous thieves and sealed inside an airless tomb.

Sign of the Green Dragon gets a high five for fantasy, fun and some fearsome adventure. If you like intrepid would-be knights on impossible and dangerous quests, you’ll love this story. As one reader says, this book, “has more twists than a dragon’s tail.”

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Reviewed by Syd Jack

Received ARC from author for honest review.

Eleven-year-old Sam Denny became an orphan six months ago and was sent to live with his irritable Uncle Jasper. Things couldn’t get worse. Or could they? When Uncle Jasper tells Sam that he’s sending him to boarding school next Monday, Sam realizes that that means he won’t make it to Haggarty Elementary’s big baseball game, and he’s their best batter. So, Joey and Roger, two of his teammates, decide to hide Sam in a cave until the game. But when one of the cave walls collapses, it uncovers a chest containing a skeleton, a note, and a map that supposedly will lead them to treasure, which rests in the “Dragon Twin”. The trio starts looking for the treasure, and the map directs them to the small town of Trent. There, they meet a Chinese man named Jen and his ancient great-uncle, who live in a strange, cave-like dwelling carved into the side of a mine; and other odd personalities. Everything is going well until a simple misunderstanding puts the sheriff and half the town on their tail, and the threesome become accidentally entangled in a true crime. Can Sam, Joey, and Roger find the treasure (preferably without ending up dead or in jail)?

I don’t know much about Chinese mythology, but I enjoyed this story just the same. It was so interesting to see how everything fit together (what it said in the note and everything else that Sam, Joey, and Roger discover after that) in the end. Even seemingly minor characters are important to how everything turns out.

Sam is my favorite character. Unlike his friend Roger, he’s far from being a reluctant hero. He’s got enough courage for him and his friends combined. Guts alone usually can’t get you out of a jam, but Sam has brains too. Forget the elementary school baseball championship: this kid is destined for the FBI!

I would recommend this book for ages 9 and up. This adventure fantasy may be written for pre-teens, but it’s a quick, engaging read for adults as well. It’s an under-the-covers-with-a-flashlight-late-at-night kind of read. Also, the plot twists and often eccentric characters provide plenty of opportunities for book-club-style discussion. In that case, it should be read with a highlighter (there’s a way to digitally annotate on the Kindle app: don’t draw all over your tablet screen) or pencil to mark significant parts.

This riveting, pulse-pounding treasure hunt makes a short novel that most everyone won’t be able to put down!

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Parental Advisory: violence and thematic elements

I LOVED IT Will Read and Reread You should Buy IT!

Connect with the author at her website

 

 

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