Book Review: A Boy and His Dragon by Michael J. Bowler

Title: A Boy and His Dragon
Author: Michael J. Bowler
Genre: Fantasy Middle Grade
Published: August 23rd 2011
Page count: 556 pages
Format: eBook
Source: From the author in exchange of an honest review

Book Summary:
Bradley Wallace Murphy just turned thirteen, and he's not happy about it. His life is lousy, with no relief in sight. He doesn't fit in at school, he's no good at sports, a bully torments him, he's a disappointment to his parents, and his only "friends" are fictional characters on a TV show called "Dark Shadows." He's on the verge of manhood - and wants no part of that, either. Then he finds the egg. And everything changes. From this egg hatches Whilly, a supposedly mythological dragon that bonds with him physically, emotionally and spiritually. The sudden responsibility of hiding and feeding and caring for a rapidly growing dragon in a small California city in 1970 forces Bradley Wallace to grow up whether he wants to or not. Through their adventures together, boy and dragon learn the true nature of their symbiosis, and Bradley Wallace comes to understand that he is not just a misfit kid who happened to find a misfit creature from some other time. He is something far more dangerous. More dangerous than anyone in history. So dangerous that he'll be killed if the truth comes out. The boy who doesn't want to grow up comes to realize that it might actually be better if he didn't.
*The Chef's Review*
    Actual rating: 5/5 stars

This was such an amazing story! A Boy and His Dragon is a sweet and magical story that moved me to tears right in the end. I loved it so much and I have to say that it is my favorite book that I've read so far from Michael J. Bowler.

I loved the magical elements inside this story along with the setting. This story starts in 1970 at the San Francisco Bay area. I love that city, I could picture the places that Bradley Wallace, the main character of this book, visited and wander so well in my mind's eye. Since the story was a few years back, there wasn't much technology and I think that added a certain charm, a retro feeling and increased the level of magic to it. 

Whilly, the dragon and friend of Bradley, is a very lovable character. He is my very favorite character inside this book and I loved reading about him. He was so sweet and kind and such a positive figure in the life of Bradley. I find it very endearing how Whilly would always call Bradley by his full name and remain faithful to him at all times. Since Bradley had to raise Whilly from the moment the dragon was little, he had to teach and explain the ways of life. I loved how Whilly questioned the "humans" and how he described some of Bradley's activities. Here is one particular thought of Whilly that I loved:

"I have access to everything in your mind, young human, but that doesn't mean everything in your mind comes with an explanation. There is much you take for granted and therefore it has no meaning for one who has not experienced it".

Nothing came easy to Bradley and Whilly and I really liked the difficulty level of their situation and how they managed it. There were so many issues waiting to be resolved inside the story and each one of them had consequences to their actions. For example, at the beginning, Bradley struggled to feed Whilly and for that matter he had to get a job so he could pay for food, but Whilly needed more food so that brought up another issue. I thought it was very realistic in that matter.

There were so many interesting characters inside this book. Whilly, like I mentioned before, is my favorite just for being a dragon and so endearing. Bradley was such a sweet and kind-hearted boy. There was another character that drew my attention and that was Mr. O'Conner. He was an elderly man, friend of Bradley Wallace and reminded me of Gandalf for some reason. I thought they were all amazing.

Final Verdict:

A Boy and His Dragon is a wonderful middle grade read. I love the retro feeling, the magic and the impossible probabilities of the book. I enjoyed reading the adventures of Bradley and Whilly to the point that I miss them. The ending drew tears to my eyes and for that I give Bradley Wallace Murphy and Whilly five stars. For all magical, fantasy, dragon book lovers out there, this is for you.

Happy reading! -- The Chef 


  1. I definitely would have passed this book over because of the cover. I can't lie. I don't like it very much---but it sounds great. I think I'll recommend this one to my younger cousin.

    1. Agree! I wish it had a better book cover to do it justice. It is a book that has been around for a while, but the story is really sweet. ♥