Nature dumps on him. He’s no larger than a pebble. His body seems made from leftover body parts. Basil doesn’t know what the heck he is meant to be, but he sure would like to know. Even without seeing the cover art

the reader knows that Basil’s a dragon but is left wondering if he really is and when he may learn the truth. We’re taken on a journey before his hatching through over forty years as he grows (in mind and spirit at least) and becomes the one to save the world from a returned evil. A bit standard of a plot in its simplest form, but it has its own unique flavor. T.A. Barron has a real love for nature as evidenced by wonderful immersion in each chapter, chapters that begin with thoughts from Basil that ring of Eastern philosophy. It helps the reader get to know him in ways the narrative would deny and gives us something to ponder. It’s like a relaxing cup of tea to start the day.

This is the first book I’ve read in a while that was purchased without a recommendation or one I’ve had lying in my collection for years. At less than three hundred pages and average sized font, it’s a quick read and suitable for younger readers if they can handle one disturbing scene in the first chapter. The epilogue chapter startles as well. The inner material is a mostly light hearted and always enjoyable adventure through various worlds, all contained within an enormous tree that finds life as Basil hatches.

This is the only work of Barron’s I’ve read, but from my understanding it’s a prequel of sorts. We see the beginnings of his creation full of cameos of characters and species from other works. We meet the wizard Merlin in his early years, and later see him marry in a great gathering of beings from all the worlds of Avalon. Later Basil has to save Merlin from a beast that stops his magic and plans to end his life. Along the way Basil meets a wind spirit named Aylah, who saved him as an egg moments before he splattered on rock from a great fall. She talks with elongated breathy Hs, and is his occasional companion and friend throughout even when he is unable to be with her. Her maternal precense brings peace and comfort.

If you enjoy dragon centric stories with themes of friendship and nature, and need a lighter work, then Merlin’s Dragon is highly recommended. Basil is tiny, memorable character with great heart.

***** of *****