Review: Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

Dragon Slippers (Dragon Slippers #1)
Jessica Day George
Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Published February 1, 2011 (Orig. 2007)

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Dragon Slippers

Creel, the heroine of Dragon Slippers is hardly a damsel-in-distress. After her aunt totes her out to the local dragon in desperation (with the hope that the local prince will rescue her from certain death and marry her), Creel refuses the haughty prince and finds friendship with the dragons, who set her on a journey to the center of the kingdom with a pretty pair of what only seem to be ordinary slippers.

Along the way we discover Creel’s enormous talent at embroidery, and you can’t help but linger over the rich descriptions of her lovely tapestry-like gowns, which quickly make her the most sought-after dressmaker in the kingdom. But soon enough those mysterious slippers begin to wreak havoc, and it’s up to Creel to save the kingdom from disaster and defend the dragons from certain doom.

Creel’s feisty spirit breathes fiery new life into this epic world at every turn, making this one of the most memorable and fun fantasy debuts to hit shelves since Cornelia Funke’s Inkheart.

Dragon Slippers on Goodreads

My Review

I know I read this book before, but I have absolutely no memory of my previous reading. I remember that I liked it so much that I gave it to two people, but reading Dragon Slippers again was like reading it for the first time. This time, I still loved it. I have some thoughts about a couple of elements that I think we took for granted or weren’t having conversations about in the mid-2000s when the book was published.

Disability and Discrimination

One of the minor characters, Larkin, walks with a limp. We never learn what causes it, but she faces discrimination for her disability. Her employer restricts her to the back room of the dress shop, refusing to allow customers to see her, as though her limp is shameful. This character makes some choices later in the book that are viewed as bad, and they do promote harm to the main characters in the story.

What I couldn’t help thinking about, and what never comes up in the course of the story is how the discrimination Larkin faced set her up to make those choices. For the first time, someone treated her as valuable and worthy. Sure, it was part of a manipulative scheme. But the narrative treats her like she’s a morally bankrupt character because she made the choice to follow someone in power who treated her well rather than addressing the societal problems that might have led her to feel those choices were her only opportunity for a better life.

Again, this was published almost twenty years ago, so we weren’t having some of the conversations about discrimination in children’s literature or having them so broadly then as we are now. I want to acknowledge that content in light of the conversations we are having and point out that even though we were perhaps less aware culturally, the discrimination was no less harmful and wrong.

A Girl and Her Dragon

One of the things I still love about the book is the relationship between Creel and the dragons, especially Shardas. I love that the dragons each collect different things. One collects shoes. Another continually adopts dogs. Shardas, Creel’s closest dragon friend, collects stained glass windows.

The connection between Shardas’s windows and Creel’s success in embroidery was also really cool. She models her first sample pieces after some of the windows in Shardas’s hoard, and those become a sensation in the town where she settles.

Dragon Slippers on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 8 to 12.

Representation
One minor character speaks through sign language. Another has a disability that makes it hard for her to walk.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used once. The book uses some language that’s outdated and now considered derogatory to describe characters with disabilities.

Romance/Sexual Content
Reference to a kiss between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Creel’s people worship a trio of deities called the Triunity. It’s made up of two brother gods and a sister goddess. Creel prays to them in times of need. Other characters make reference to the Triunuty or individual gods/goddess.

Some characters are dragons, who have a kind of magic. They speak to one another through pools in their caves. They share a mysterious, powerful connection to a pair of slippers.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Creel witnesses a battle between two armed forces. She finds a dragon injured by spears and other weapons. Two dragons dive into a poisonous sea, one carrying a person.

Drug Content
References to people drinking ale to escape troubles and to celebrate an engagement.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use but help support this blog. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

4 Responses to Review: Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day George

  1. Thanks for your insightful review. I will read any story with a dragon and this one sounds special. I hope you are having a Happy MMGM!

    • Kasey says:

      Thank you, Greg! I missed the deadline to submit a link to you last night for MMGM, but I’m excited to see what the rest of the group posted. 🙂 Happy MMGM to you, too!

  2. I haven’t read this for years, but I remember thoroughly enjoying this series. The dragon’s horde tickled me.

    • Kasey says:

      I’m listening to an audiobook version of the third book in the series now. It’s been a lot of fun. 🙂 Yes! I giggled over the dragon’s choices of items to collect, too.

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