|Make Way for Dragons!|
Date: 01 July, 1990 — used only — Book
This is my favorite example of Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover. Everything, and I mean everything about this cover screams dreck. To begin with, there's the title, which seems just a step above completely juvenile. Then there's the cover art. Rowena is a fairly decent artist, but she will do quick work for cash, and this cover, featuring a stereotypical 80s Valley Girl on a skateboard with a horrible little runt dragon in front of pastel palm trees, fuses the horrible with the massively incorrect. (No Valley Girls, palm trees, or skateboards included. The dragon, as described, is much prettier and larger to boot.) And the blurb on the back uses every single Southern California hook possible... but the book has only a general connection to California at all, which merely is a setting (and it takes place in the mountains anyway!)
What are we left with? Why, a personal recommendation, which is how I came across this. It's good standard fantasy, with a few horrible puns thrown in (all told by the participants, though, not part of the scenery as in Xanth.) It's a book about friendship, and about chasing dreams, and about fighting huge horribly ugly evil dragons with the help of the small pretty ones...
Agewise, one could easily hand this to a twelve-year-old and have complete comprehension. There might be some topics that are age-inappropriate, however, so screen it before handing it to your kid. I also think this will appeal more to girls than to guys at that age; there's not nearly enough action for someone fond of video games.