Gauge (The Dragons Of Wayward Crescent)
by Chris D'Lacey
Cover Artist: Adam Stower
Review by Carolyn Frank
Orchard Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780545168311
Date: 01 January 2010 List Price $9.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
The old town clock in Scrubbley is broken and fixing it would cost too much. The town council wants to demolish it and replace it with a modern digital piece. Nine-year-old Lucy Pennykettle would just like things to stay normal but her mother Liz actively wants to get the traditional old clock fixed. As Liz normally makes small clay dragons for sale and occasionally dreams small magical dragons into being, she comes up with Gauge, the newest magical Dragon of Wayward Crescent.
Gauge is named because he is dragon that measures. In his case he measures time. Gauge comes with a sort of pocket watch in his vest but has to learn the details about Earth time and Earth time pieces. Liz makes her dragons bottle-green in color with spiky wings and trumpet shaped noses. The clay ones for sale are made in all different poses and sizes, but although the same color and shape, Gauge is a small foot-long magical creature capable of freezing into a statue when strangers are around.
As Liz ramps up her protest campaign against tearing down the old town clock, Lucy tries to fade into the background. However Gauge is fascinated by all forms of time pieces, especially the old town clock, and Lucy has to do her best at keeping him out of trouble. Outside of a rather helpful ghost and the occasional magical dragon, this is a typical modern town with understandable real people including an overbearing next door neighbor, a haughty town councilman, a helpful librarian, and Lucy's well-intentioned teacher from school.
This delightful children's fantasy has imaginative half-page black and white drawings sprinkled throughout. With its large typeface and proper book size (8.5 by 5.5 inches), this would be a wonderful book to read aloud to a child beginning to read for herself or to give to such a child for her reading pleasure.