Reviews for Dragons of Ordinary Farm

Booklist Reviews 2009 May #1
This begins with the tried-and-true device of having two siblings shunted off to spend a summer with an odd, distant relative who is up to all manner of mysterious goings-on but flies off the handle when the kids naturally get a little curious. Tyler and Lucinda discover that their great-uncle Gideon is raising dragons, griffins, unicorns, and stablefuls of other mythical beasties. Where did they come from, and how are they kept a secret? The first half of the story is belabored by loads of heavy description as the authors, the husband-and-wife team of Williams (a noted adult fantasist) and Beale, struggle to whip up enough personality to spread across the considerably large cast. But the pace picks up considerably when the kids set out for a bit of time travel and a journey into an alternate reality, both of which are teasingly quick jaunts away from the farm. Patient readers will be rewarded with an exciting conclusion and many tantalizing seeds planted for future summers. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Forced to spend four weeks with their eccentric uncle Gideon, Tyler and Lucinda soon discover the fantastical secrets of Ordinary Farm. After a slow start, the story's strange creatures and portals into the past generate plentiful action and intrigue. The open-ended conclusion will leave readers wanting more. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #2
An unremarkable fantasy dabbles in several genres as contemporary kids visit a strange farm. Tyler and older sister Lucinda, who alternate narrative viewpoints, depart sullenly for unknown Uncle Gideon's dull-sounding Ordinary Farm. Advance instructions provide rules to follow near fire-breathing cows, but the word "cows" has been superimposed over another word. Readers will correctly guess that the supposed cows are the titular dragons, one of whom is pinioned (cruelly, though the text doesn't acknowledge that) in the "sick barn" as she nurses an egg. Farmhands reveal some of Ordinary Farm's treasures (wild unicorns and other creatures), but many secrets remain hushed, and Gideon deflects the siblings' questions. Bold, plucky Tyler probes the mysteries by exploring, while Lucinda frets and lags behind, perhaps simply because she's a girl. A fault line leading to past centuries and parallel dimensions, plus a fairy-tale-like conjurer and her cold son, tack on genre upon genre until the structure feels slapdash. Implausibilities and simplified stereotypes of foreigners add to this series opener's mediocrity. (Fantasy. 9-12) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Reviews 2009 August

Gr 5-8--When siblings Tyler and Lucinda are sent to spend their summer with distant relatives at Ordinary Farm, they soon find that the farm is anything but ordinary. The animals include a variety of mythical beasts, and even though the siblings have been sworn to secrecy, no one wants to explain to them how these unusual creatures and a variety of unusual human residents have come there. A magical library and its ghosts provide hints to the answers, but it's up to the children to put the clues together and continue their family tradition as the caregivers of Ordinary Farm. While they work to understand its secrets, Tyler and Lucinda also have action-packed roles to play in thwarting a rich businessman who's planning on taking over the property. Williams and Beale have created a gripping fantasy with realistic but appealing characters as well as scientific magic that explains the appearance of legendary creatures. Boy-girl protagonists and nonstop adventure make this a good choice for fantasy fans and reluctant readers of both genders, who will be left, like Tyler and Lucinda, looking forward to their next visit to Ordinary Farm.--Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

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