by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, 2010
copy purchased for my classroom library
The father of one of my math students was amused by the fact that my last name is same as the evil crime boss guy in the Bruce Lee classic kung fu movie "Enter the Dragon." He was so amused that he sent the movie in with his son for me to bring home and watch. Which I did, but mostly because I live with someone who is, if not a kung fu movie expert, at least someone who has watched enough of them to walk me through the hallmarks of the genre.
All of that by way of saying that if you've watched just ONE kung fu movie (or probably just one episode of any Saturday morning ninja cartoons) this book will be so funny you will start quoting out loud from it after only a few pages.
"Danny sighed. Pepperoni pizza was a good thing--possibly a great thing--but not as awesome as kung fu movies. Hardly anything was.Still, he couldn't be too upset. Seven Fists of Carnage was going to be on tonight. He hoped it was as good as his all-time favorite, Vengeance of the Thirteen Masters, in which a blind salamander samurai fights off thirteen ninja clans, using only a pair of chopsticks.Danny passed the time until the pizza arrived by drawing ninjas. Drawing ninjas was difficult because you couldn't really see a ninja. So the drawings mostly consisted of places where ninjas might be hiding."
Suki, the Japanese exchange student who complicates things by being a girl, is being attacked by ninja frogs. She doesn't even believe in ninjas, but since they're "practically mythological," they're right up Danny's alley, seeing as he's a dragon.
Danny, his friend Wendell, and Suki set out to get to the bottom of why the ninjas are so interested in Suki. They take the bus (the same one that took them to the Sargasso Sea in the first book) to mythological Japan where Danny's great-grandfather lives, and where they learn that Suki must choose between becoming a veterinarian and the leader of an underground ninja clan.
Dragonbreath #03: Curse of the Were-Wiener
by Ursula Vernon
Dial Books, on shelves September 16, 2010
arc from Cover to Cover Children's Books
Wendell: "Do you ever worry that your childhood is warping you in some fashion?"
Danny: "Are you kidding? I'm counting on it."
YAY! The potato salad that slunk into the storm sewer in the first book comes back to save the day in this one!
Wendell is bit by his school cafeteria hot dog and starts growing hair on his back. A quick trip into the cafeteria's freezer reveals that some of the hot dogs served were Were-Wieners, a product of Transylvania. Unfortunately, Danny doesn't have any relatives there, so they can't take the bus this time. Even though "Calling the company did not hold the same appeal as storming a factory in the vampire-ridden Carpathians," Wendell calls the number listed on the package where "It says 'In case of missing product, damage or lycanthropy, call 1-800-WURST-R-US' " and learns that they must kill the alpha wurst so that the rest of were-wieners lose their power and Wendell can be restored to normal.
Either I'm channeling my inner fourth grader, or I'm simply relaxed enough after only a couple of days of vacation to get my sense of humor back (or both) but this series is turning out to be one of my all-time favorites.
Other Dragonbreath fans: