Dragon Slayer's Academy by Kate McMullan, illustrated by Bill Basso 110pp RL2

The Dragon Slayer's Academy has been around for more than ten years now and fills a nice niche between Magic Tree House and Junie B Jones in the world of 2nd grade reading level series. Originally, the books were about 90 pages each but have recently been reissued with extra pages that include a DSA yearbook with profiles of the students and teachers as well as funny bits about nicknames and deepest secrets.

This series takes place during the tymes of olde, when dragon slaying was the work of brave knights. The hero of this series is Wiglaf, the only scrawny disappointment among the thirteen strapping sons of Fergus and Molwena, and anything but brave. When a wandering minstrel fortells Wiglaf's future as a mighty hero, he leaves home to fulfill his destiny with Daisy, his Pig Latin speaking pig, a length of rope, a map and his lucky rag. As he journeys, he meets the wizard Zelnoc, who gives him a magical, if somewhat rusty, sword to which he has completely forgotten the magical incantation that will activate its power.

From there, it is on to the DSA, where Wiglaf befriends Eric (who is really Princess Erica, daughter of King Ken and Queen Barbie) and Angus and the adventures follow. There are enough bad jokes and icky moments to entertain, as well as a tutorial on how to speak Pig Latin. The illustrations are good, if a little dark, but I guess lots of things were dark in the middle ages...

My favorite title is that of DSA #8, "Countdown to the Year 1000." These books don't offer quite as much historical and scientific information as the Magic Tree House series,but they are funny and fun to read, and at this stage in the game strengthening reading skills and creating a love of books, that's what counts most. The latest book in the DSA series, #19 was published in May of 2007.

If your child likes this series, suggest Castle Diary: The Journal of Tobias Burgess, Page

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