The Dragon Tree (The Hall Family Chronicles)
Reviewed by Avery Largent (age 9) for Reader Views (9/08)
“The Dragon Tree” by Jane Langton is a story about a boy named Eddy, who one day finds a little tree shooting up in his yard, a so-called Dragon Tree. Although it sounds like a very interesting story idea, it resolves into something not quite as good. With underdeveloped characters, little description, and a meandering plot, this book appeared slightly unplanned.
The characters in this story seemed underdeveloped. In most books, each and every character normally has their own personality, and they say certain things that others would not. In this story, however, all the characters seem to be rather mixed up. For example, the main character, Eddy, sometimes says things that seem more likely for his uncle to say, or his neighbor, Emerald more likely to say what Eddy just said. Also, you never get to really know the characters. For instance, I don’t really know anything about Eddy’s feelings, wishes, or motivations. I believe Jane Langton could have put more work into her characters.
Beside the poorly-developed characters, there is very little description. In some stories, the author intends for it to be like that; you’re not supposed to know what the people look like. However, I don’t think it’s meant to be like that in this story. It does not even say what the main character looks like. Come to think of it, the only one with the smallest bit of description is Emerald; the author only mentions her hair color. She also does not go into detail about the setting of the story. The story would have been more interesting with a little more description.
Even beside the underdeveloped characters and low description, the plot appears poorly planned. From reading the back cover, the title, and the beginning of the book, you would expect the book to be about a dragon tree, which sounds very exciting. By the end, however, it had resolved into something very uninteresting. I wish the author had included more about the dragon tree. By the end of the story, the actual dragon tree seemed squeezed into the story. If the plot had not been sidetracked from the original idea, it would have definitely been a lot better of a book.
Altogether, “The Dragon Tree” by Jane Langton is a poorly-written story. With underdeveloped characters, barely any description, and a poorly directed plot, I would not recommend “The Dragon Tree” to my friends.