by Dielle Alexandre and Jeff Mulcaster

Chez Champignon, $9.00, 228 pages

Kara is a nine-year-old girl who has never understood the anti-dragon sentiment in her world. Although she grew up with dragons being raised for meat and used as labor, she has always felt sorry for them. When her grandmother gives her a dragon egg that she accidentally hatches, Kara is delighted with her new friend. But when her dragon is caught by the evil minister of the land, Kara must leave her family to save her dragon. Meeting new friends on the way, Kara learns to stand up for what she believes in.

Sambuka Black starts off with an interesting idea – that of a young girl fighting for the rights of a friend – but doesn’t quite come together. The story, especially in the beginning of the novel, has abrupt scene changes that are confusing and distracting to the reader. Further, the adults in Kara’s life seem oddly detached from reality. It’s perplexing that her grandmother would give her a dragon egg, and her parents in general seem confused by Kara. There are some entertaining moments involving Kara’s adventure with her new friends, Duncan and Alex, but in general, the book is too inconsistently written to enjoy.

Barbara Cothern