Reviews /

Dragonracers

Authored by Peter Bunzl
Illustrated by Lia Visirin
Published by Barrington Stoke Ltd

Tagged , ,

Dragonracers: This is an adventure and fantasy story and, as with much of Peter Bunzl’s work, is built around a real event.  It features a dragon and early aeroplanes, with a strong and determined girl and her more bookish twin brother as its main protagonists – how many boxes does that tick?  Add in a strong well-paced storyline aimed at the newly confident reader, suitably placed illustrations by Lia Visirin to support the narrative and you certainly have a book worth stocking on the classroom bookshelf.

Kitty Hawk, her brother Harris and their father Peregrine (clever nomenclature that may well bypass the youngest readers) live in a cottage by the side of Hendon airfield, where Peregrine is chief engineer to Claude Grahame-White. The story is set around the real 1910 London to Manchester Air Race and the real competitors, Claude Grahame-White and Louis Paulhan take part in this somewhat amended version of the race in which Kitty and Harris find, hatch, and raise a dragon who becomes the third contestant. The bravery and determination of early aviators is made very clear, and whilst the real events of the race have been altered to allow the dragon his moment of glory, the outcome of the race remains factually accurate. So much scope for a spot of research here.

Cleverly, Bunzl concludes with a new challenge for Bird Girl and Bird Boy, as the newspapers dub Kitty and Harris, in the shape of what to do with their dragon. Whilst this may not be suggesting that a sequel is likely, it has the potential to encourage the young reader to speculate and develop further storylines themselves.