Book Review of the Dragons in a Bag Series
The Children’s Book Review
Written by Zetta Elliott
Age Range: 8+ | 160 Pages
Publisher: Random House Kids | ISBN-13: 9781524770457
What to Expect: Magic, city life, friendship, adventure, and coming-of-age.
Dragons in a Bag is book one in an urban fantasy series for chapter book readers that manages to be refreshing and sharp without being too heavy to carry in the average backpack.
Jaxon might be apprenticed to a witch, but that doesn’t mean he lives in a fantasy land. Jax lives in the heart of Brooklyn, where traffic is everywhere, the fast food is amazing, and landladies can evict you for no reason. His adventures start when Jax and his mom are evicted, forcing them to find temporary shelter with Ma, the woman who raised Jax’s mom. It turns out, however, that Ma is a witch. Soon Jax and his friends are launched into a series of adventures, safeguarding dragons, traveling through time, babysitting phoenix eggs, and advocating for the return of magical creatures to the human world. Who knew that Brooklyn was so full of magic and mystery?
The stories weave Black folklore, culture, and myth through a plot that has just enough tension without being overly dark, despite underlying explorations of gentrification, family conflict, racism, and poverty. Jax is headstrong, curious, and thoughtful—a compelling combination for a main character and a nice contrast to Ma’s colorful strangeness. Readers will enjoy watching him grow not only into new magical powers but also into his own personality and the grown-up world around him as the story progresses. Diverse characters and an intimate familiarity with the Brooklyn setting keep the series fresh, contemporary, and relatable—a far cry from remote castles and fairy princesses.
Dragons in a Bag is an enjoyable, suspenseful, fulfilling fantasy read.
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About the Author
Zetta Elliott was born in Canada and moved to the United States in 1994. Her poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York and Chicago. Her essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of over twenty-five books for young readers, including the award-winning picture books Bird and Melena’s Jubilee. She is also a contributor to We Rise, We Resist, We Raise Our Voices, published by Crown Books for Young Readers. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing. A longtime resident of Brooklyn, she currently lives in Illinois.
Learn more at zettaelliott.com.
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott was reviewed by Dr. Jen Harrison. Discover more books like Dragons in a Bag Series by following our reviews and articles tagged with coming of age, friendship, magic, and adventure.