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BOOK: St. Nick the ... dragon slayer?

“The Dragon at the North Pole” tells of the adventures of Emmy’s first Christmas. (Submitted photo)

By Jean Patrick

Republic Book Columnist

When is Santa not really Santa?

In “The Dragon at the North Pole,” by Kate Klimo, cousins Jesse and Daisy are excited about Christmas. It will be the first Christmas for Emmy, their sevenmonth-old dragon.

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Unfortunately, Emmy disappears. But thanks to magic snowshoes, Jake and Daisy walk to the North Pole to find her. When they arrive, they meet Santa. He has chosen Emmy to be his special helper.

But something’s not right. Although Santa wears a red jacket and boots, he’s anything but merry. In fact, he wants Jesse and Daisy to sign away their Keepership of Emmy.

Before long, Jesse and Daisy figure out the truth. Santa is not Santa. He’s the Norse hero Beowulf — a dragon slayer. But it’s worse. He’s developing a Vortex Interceptor. When the thunder eggs containing baby dragons enter the earth’s atmosphere, they will be his.

At this point the story spins into new directions, adding elements of fantasy, modern-day technology and contemporary complications.

As Jesse and Daisy discover, the Vortex Interceptor will not only harm the Aurora, the beings who live in the atmosphere. It will also damage the ozone layer. As a result Jesse and Daisy have two motivations. To protect the dragons and the planet.

For some readers, the imaginative mix of folklore and the modern day will be incredibly stimulating, especially when unexpected plot twists and battles are added. But for others, it will be too much.

Regardless, the small details about Emmy are fun. Instead of believing in the Tooth Fairy, Emmy believes in the Fang Fairy. Instead of using a pen, she uses the green ichor from her talons.

Fans of Jesse and Daisy will be glad to know that this isn’t the only book about pet dragons. “The Dragon at the North Pole” is the sixth book in the Dragon Keepers series.

“The Dragon at the North Pole.” By Kate Klimo. Illustrations by John Schroades. Random House, 2013. 176 pp.

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