Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. There are Amazon affiliate links within this text.
Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon by Marianne Hering and Wayne Thomas Batson was my first exposure to The Imagination Station books. They are published through Focus on the Family and display common moral and ethical issues encountered by children. In each book a “situation” in real life is addressed through a fantasy experience via the “Imagination Station.” These adventures help the primary characters and the reader explore biblical principals and appropriate Christian responses to adversity. For example, in Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon the sensitive topic of bullying is addressed. Unsure of how to handle a friend being bullied one of the leading characters, Beth expresses her concern over how to handle the incident to the local ice cream parlor owner, Whit, who also happens to be the keeper of the Imagination Station. Beth and her cousin, Patrick are then sent on an action packed journey back in time to confront bullying in the 13th century. During their journey they encounter a righteous warrior, villagers being threatened by a unseen monster preying on their livestock and children, and a dragon.
The book is recommended for ages 7 and up and is listed as a grade level of 2.2. There are elements of the book that are suspenseful and may upset children that experience fear from tense or uncertain situations. Beth and Patrick are pitted against potentially dangerous animals in this story. If your children are sensitive to animal suffering or tend to humanize fictional characters such as dragons, I would strongly recommend reading this book aloud or along with them to encourage open discussion and help avoid nightmares.
The book does assign gender roles to the characters that are traditional including utilizing the female character as a potential sacrifice to the dragon believed to be preying on the village and portraying the males in primary fighting roles. Of course some of the gender roles are simply consistent with historical accuracy. As a woman raising a daughter it was noticeable to me that the primary characters were serving traditionally gender appropriate roles, but it wasn’t inappropriate or done in a manner that would keep me from allowing access to the book.
Overall, I found the Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon a wonderful example of Christian values and believe the imaginative story to be an excellent representation of how to handle bullying in real life. I am encouraged by the messages and the comfort the characters found in following and acting on their belief in the Lord and am looking forward to sharing The Imagination Station Books with my children. I hope you enjoy them as well!