Sarah's Stars

John A. Charters. Tamar and the Dragon Tree
Self Published   $19.95  ISBN 0-9780626-0-4  130 pg.
Reviewed by Emma, Age 14

Tamar believed in magic, ‘sort of’. Not the great thundering and lightning and hand waving magic one sees in the movies or on TV; just small magic with a special word for doing small things for one’s small self.

Tamar is an eight-year-old girl who really lives in BC, and who takes part in some fantastic, if questionably true, dragon-filled escapades. The Dragontree is an ancient creature that guides Tamar on various journeys to visit friends, relatives, and countless exciting places.

John A. Charters is the mastermind behind the Dragontree stories, which he writes about his granddaughter, Tamar (now an adult, living on Gabriola Island with a family of her own). Charters lives in the Kootenays (BC) with his wife and pets. There he writes short stories, poems, and a regular column for the Castlegar newspaper, and collects ceramic dragons. Karel Doruyter is Tamar’s father, and the illustrator of her book. Though born in Holland, Doruyter now lives in Victoria with his wife and son. His quirky, colourful artwork is known internationally, and can be found in many books.

I recommend Tamar and the Dragon Tree to children aged 4-8. This enthralling collection of short stories is funny and catching, perfect for pre-bed installments, summer afternoons, or rainy day magic.

Tamar and the Dragon Tree is the delightful and heartfelt chronicling of one girl’s discoveries through imagination. Tamar is bubbly and inventive; she likes to try new things, and is instantly likable herself. She is also bold, clever, kind, and polite—the perfect heroine for John A. Charters’ stories. Occasionally Charters appears throughout the chapters, in his role as Grandfather. Grandfather is wise, sweet, intriguing, and suspiciously silently, all-knowing. He and Tamar triumph, bond, and learn together in these stories of simple magic and love.I give four stars to the two sparkling characters and the thirteen stories of time, distance and dragons.

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