This isn’t your daddy’s dragon slayer story.
Just so you know. I think it is best to be up front about these things, don’t you?
Yolen’s tale concerns a town in fantasy England that finds itself under siege from a dragon, after all the dragons are supposed to be dead and gone.
Nasty things, hidden eggs. Sometimes they go bad and stink up the house; other times out pops a dragon.
The dragon slayer in this story meets all the criteria of a hero, but he isn’t the only one (and he might not be a hero). The focus of the story is on Tansy and her family, including her two sisters Rosemary and Sage. While the story does make use of the youngest child as savior fairy tale trope, but the sisters are close. Rosemary, while not the central role of her sister, does also contribute to the fight and story more than most elder sisters are allowed to do in such tales (and there is a wonderful single panel that shows how close the sisters are). The closeness of the family, not only the sisters, but of their parents, makes this a nice family tale. In an interesting twist, it is not brawn that saves the day.
Of course, it has romance too. After all, why not bring two heroes together? Question is, whom do you see as the heroes?
Yolen’s writing is perfectly coupled with Guay’s lavish artwork, and the medium allows both women to explore humor in many classes. The reaction of one men sent to find the hero is priceless, and it is worth noting what this character is doing the closing pages of the story.