Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher

by Bruce Coville (1991)

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is a unique book. Not because of its content.  Although it certainly is a mystical, magical, riveting story unlike any you’ve ever read before.  It is unique because its plot – full of mystery and excitement – is artfully enhanced by realistic, punchy dialogue and eye-catching illustrations that practically bring Jeremy, his friends, and his dragon alive right in front of your eyes. Jeremy’s parents are delightful characters, too, who often supply the wittiest moments of the book. Parents might recognize their own sense of humor in Mr. and Mrs. Thatcher, especially in this moment when Jeremy decides to play sick to get out of school:

“…life’s tough. Isn’t it, Jer?”

Jeremy nodded glumly, and tried not to squirm when his mother put her hand on his forehead.

“You haven’t got a fever,” she said, sounding relieved. “My diagnosis is Monday-morning-osis.”

But wait, isn’t Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher a book about dragons and spells and mysterious magic folk? Oh yes. There’s a disappearing magic shop, a suspicious librarian, and questions about the power of the moonlight that can only be answered in a library book titled On the Nature (and Disappearance) of Dragons.

Bruce Coville’s novel is a perfect blend between real life – the relationships between parents and their child, teachers and their students, and between friends – and the fantastical. Jeremy’s dragon, Tiamat, is a loveable and quirky addition to the young boy’s life. Laugh along with the pair as Jeremy juggles feeding his rapidly growing, fire-breathing dragon while also trying desperately to avoid Mary Lou Hutton, a girl in Jeremy’s class who wants to kiss him. Feel awe-struck as Jeremy and Tiamat wait for the prophesized Midsummer Night – whatever that is – which will test their friendship in a big way. Envision what your own life would be like if you suddenly became a dragon hatcher. Hint: it would probably be very complicated, but exciting nonetheless!