Book Review: Chris D’Lacey’s Gruffen

Posted June 24, 2017 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Chris D’Lacey’s Gruffen



Chris d'Lacey

fantasy that was published by Orchard Books on September 1, 2009 and has 103 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Illustrator: Adam Stower
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include The Fire Within, Gauge, Glade, Grabber

First in The Dragons of Wayward Crescent series for seven-to-nine-year-old middle-grade readers (and up!) and revolving around the mother and daughter Pennykettles who live in Scrubbley, England.

My Take

I am OCD about reading things in order, and you don’t have to start with The Dragons of Wayward Crescent series before reading The Last Dragon Chronicles, but I’d recommend it.

That said, this is so sweet, and so perfect for the kids. D’Lacey has fun with the fantasy of the dragons AND with exploring how bats fly using their echoes and how very useful they are. It could be a good opportunity to nail up a bat house and educate the kid-niks. And keep the skeeters down!

My favorite part was Gruffen learning about the family, flying, and when he shouldn’t do something, lol. There was something so realistic (yes, even with dragons *she said, laughing*) about learning new things, getting along with others, following the rules, AND in Lucy’s frustrations with her mother’s seeming to not care.

I’ve got Gauge coming up next and can’t wait to find out how he saves the day.

The Story

When Lucy Pennykettle is convinced a monster is lurking in her room at night, there is only one solution. Lucy’s mother, Liz, mixes a bit of magic and a little clay to create Gruffen, a miniature dragon who comes to life.

While guarding Lucy’s room, Gruffen discovers the truth about the monster as well as her plight. In becoming friends, Gruffen and Hattie work together to out-smart Henry Bacon and find Hattie a new home for her batlings.

The Characters

The imaginative Lucy Pennykettle is nine years old. Elizabeth Pennykettle is a potter who specializes in clay dragons, whom she creates in the Dragons’ Den.

The dragons
There are two types: the ones Elizabeth sells and the special ones she keeps. The special ones include snuffler dragons which clean when no one is looking (I need a couple of these), a listening dragon, and Gawain and Guinevere who have their own special roles.

Gruffen is the special guard dragon who learns about protecting Lucy.

Hattie is a pregnant bat who desperately needs a safe home. Mr. Greening is the expert who knows all about bats.

The grouchy Henry Bacon is their next-door neighbor.

The Cover and Title

The cover is cute with its deep royal background textured with purple sponging. The series information (at the top) and the author’s name (at the bottom) are in an orange metallic gothic font while the title is in a banner outlined like the oval frame for the centered graphic in the same metallic orange. The title itself is the deep purple of the background against a cream background. What really catches the eye is the irregular oranges background of that oval with a self-satisfied green dragon, his scales sparkling with iridescent glitter, sitting atop a brown hardcover book, smoke curling out of one nostril.

The title is who it’s all about, for Gruffen comes to live at Wayward Crescent.