When Kat and her father and brother visit the Mollie Kathleen, an old gold mine now open for tours by the busload, Kat gets lost from the group and falls down a shaft, where she discovers an awe inspiring world of fantasy come to life She meets an ancient dragon the last of his kind and discovers a secret about the gold that litters the creature s den and why dragons throughout time have hoarded the sparkling treasure The dragon helps Kat escape the endless caverns, but not before Kat greedily takes a piece of gold for herself Feeling guilty, Kat decides to return it, but before she can do this she drops it in front of a group of visitors, and a media frenzy ensues Soon the mining town is filled with gold seekers In order to save the dragon and his gold, Kat and her brother must venture back into the mine to warn him But will they get there in time This fast paced, beautifully told modern fantasy tale by children s book illustrator Troy Howell will keep readers spellbound


10 thoughts on “The Dragon of Cripple Creek

  1. Monica Edinger Monica Edinger says:

    Dragons and gold Done and done, right But how about a dragon in a Colorado gold mine That is just where Troy Howell puts his in The Dragon of Cripple Creek, a uniquely American literary fairy tale.It is the story of Kat Graham who grew up insisting on gold everywhere golden bedroom walls, a gold bedecked bed, gold shoes, gold rimmed eyeglasses, a golden colored pony named Goldie, and even when she was four and into pirates a broken front tooth capped in gold And so of course when go Dragons and gold Done and done, right But how about a dragon in a Colorado gold mine That is just where Troy Howell puts his in The Dragon of Cripple Creek, a uniquely American literary fairy tale.It is the story of Kat Graham who grew up insisting on gold everywhere golden bedroom walls, a gold bedecked bed, gold shoes, gold rimmed eyeglasses, a golden colored pony named Goldie, and even when she was four and into pirates a broken front tooth capped in gold And so of course when gold besotted Kat sees an ad for tours of the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine she won t rest until she goes The ad is on the side of the highway Kat, her older brother Dillon, and her father are on, heading to a new life in California, their old one in Ohio having collapsed completely after a freak accident put her mother in a coma and caused her father to lose everything.Shortly after starting the tour Kat lags behind, takes one false step, and falls Alice like deep into the mine Bruised and bleeding she stumbles her way through the dark looking for a way out when she sees the glint of a gold nugget which she pockets Shortly after that she comes upon something extraordinary a living and smoke blowing dragon His name is Ye and he is, she learns, the last of his kind in the world Smart, erudite, and philosophical, Ye tells Kat what that glittery mineral she loves so much really is and the two of them forge a strong emotional connection Despite this, Kat s lingering love of gold causes her to keep that gold nugget hidden from her new friend even though she has learned from him that it is not hers to take.Back on the surface, the media is out in force as everyone looks for the missing girl in the mine And when Kat returns and is recognized, she and the gold nugget end up on television, setting off a raging twenty first century gold rush Horrified that Ye might be discovered and guilt ridden that she has taken his gold, Kat is then determined to return the nugget to the dragon and keep his secret.Filled with playful language, quirky characters, and plenty of excitement, this is a delightfully unusual tale Like Frank Cotrell Boyce s Millions, it takes on big topics and ideas say the nature of greed and avarice as well as the contradictions and complications of wealth And like Boyce s story this one has a thread of sadness underlying the lighter moments Witty and tender this highly original tale should engage a wide range readers


  2. Emily Emily says:

    Katlin Graham is on a cross country move with her father and brother Leaving their home and their comatose mother behind, the destitute family must make it to California within a few days in order for her father to land a job While staying in the Midwest, the family goes on a tour of the Molly Kathleen, an old mine that has long been out of use Ever adventurous, Kat literally stumbles upon a closed section of the mine, and in an Alice in Wonderland kind of adventure, falls to the deepest bo Katlin Graham is on a cross country move with her father and brother Leaving their home and their comatose mother behind, the destitute family must make it to California within a few days in order for her father to land a job While staying in the Midwest, the family goes on a tour of the Molly Kathleen, an old mine that has long been out of use Ever adventurous, Kat literally stumbles upon a closed section of the mine, and in an Alice in Wonderland kind of adventure, falls to the deepest bottom of the mine She searches for her way out and finds a real live dragon lurking in the depths To top it off, he s surrounded by Kat s biggest obsession, gold Kat forms a close, albeit short bond with the dragon, whose name is Ye, in which Kat learns that he is the last of all the dragons Ye helps Kat escape the mine, a nugget of gold tucked into her jacket What unleashes next is nothing that Kat could ever dream The media goes wild with her story, especially when she lets it slip that the gold belongs to the dragon living in the mine, and people flock to the Molly Kathleen, trying to claim the gold for themselves Kat has to find a way to avoid the frenzied gold explorers, get back in the mine, and somehow try to save Ye the dragon from being discovered.This book was difficult for me to get into The writing is choppy and while Howell uses great descriptive language, I feel that younger readers would get confused and bogged down by some of the colloquial sayings I think the chapters or sections of the book should be broken up into smaller sections There s always that feeling of accomplishment when a child finishes a whole chapter and I think a reader may get frustrated with how long the sections are Kat s interaction with the dragon is featured at the beginning and end of the book but not the middle and I think the story drags a little because of this Howell s characterization of Kat is fantastic She is unique and her love for gold is hilarious she even has a gold tooth The story is interesting and deals with some tough issues having an invalid parent, the nature of greed and how it affects people that will make readers think Overall, the book was an interesting read but I m not sure it ll keep the attention of younger readers


  3. Kelly Kelly says:

    My desire to read this book was three fold One, the author was a Troy Howell a man I never recognized as an author but knew as that fantastic artist for the American Redwall covers Second, the story centered around a dragon And three, it took place in Cripple Creek, the grownup arcade, the little town alive with coin clinking and what sounds like 50,000 gameboys blasting at once Suffice it to see I didn t enjoy my last trip to Cripple Creek, but it s a place I know, and so the book neede My desire to read this book was three fold One, the author was a Troy Howell a man I never recognized as an author but knew as that fantastic artist for the American Redwall covers Second, the story centered around a dragon And three, it took place in Cripple Creek, the grownup arcade, the little town alive with coin clinking and what sounds like 50,000 gameboys blasting at once Suffice it to see I didn t enjoy my last trip to Cripple Creek, but it s a place I know, and so the book needed to be read.This wasn t an exciting book But nor was it terrible It was like taking a stroll through a story rather than blasting through a thriller a demand I find overrated in today s market It had good characters and a fun premise Troy Howell has a beautiful knack for imagery


  4. Leslie Kitchin Leslie Kitchin says:

    I read this book to a 5th grade class I m a librarian It was really too long for a once a week read to a class, in my opinion It would be much better as a daily read to a class or I think I would have enjoyed reading it to myselfAnother review said it s a great story that got a bit bogged down in the telling and I can agree with that I did really enjoy the story and Ye the Dragon is a lovely and moving character We discussed the book when we finished I hope the kids understood the I read this book to a 5th grade class I m a librarian It was really too long for a once a week read to a class, in my opinion It would be much better as a daily read to a class or I think I would have enjoyed reading it to myselfAnother review said it s a great story that got a bit bogged down in the telling and I can agree with that I did really enjoy the story and Ye the Dragon is a lovely and moving character We discussed the book when we finished I hope the kids understood the meaning of the book It s a bit subtle They all said they enjoyed it and that s good I don t like explaining the meaning of books to kids I would rather they come to their own conclusions I will say things or ask questions that guide them to an understanding, but I don t like telling them what I think or telling them what they should get out of a book Several of them made insightful comments so at least some of the understood


  5. Leanne Leanne says:

    It was good Enjoyable Would have been done much sooner had I read itoften than just on my short lunch breaks at work.I liked the story, quite a bit, actually There were moments when I felt it did not flow overly well, but then the next day I was completely lost in it s words, hating to put it down There is a great moral to the story Great read for children, of all ages, who devour chapter books.


  6. Alex Alex says:

    I have dreamed this, the dimming of the heavens.Like the man who goes a littleblind each day and does not know, until the day he wakens in the night and feels the sun in his face.


  7. Emily Emily says:

    My son and I tried to read this book together and it just proved to be a little to above his level and I just couldn t get interested in it enough to want to read it to with him.


  8. Anita McDivitt Barrios Anita McDivitt Barrios says:

    My son cried when he read this one He loved the dragon Ye.


  9. Vicky Vicky says:

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here This is an incredible YA ages 8 12 book I laughed I cried I couldn t stop reading This is a heart stirring adventure about all that glitters versus all that matters Truer words have never been written.The main character, Kaitlin Kat, aka Calamity Kat Graham has a thing for gold She even has a gold tooth So when she sees a poster for a tourist gold mine while on a cross country trip with her father and brother, of course she has to go.And thus the adventure begins.In the backstory, This is an incredible YA ages 8 12 book I laughed I cried I couldn t stop reading This is a heart stirring adventure about all that glitters versus all that matters Truer words have never been written.The main character, Kaitlin Kat, aka Calamity Kat Graham has a thing for gold She even has a gold tooth So when she sees a poster for a tourist gold mine while on a cross country trip with her father and brother, of course she has to go.And thus the adventure begins.In the backstory, Kat s mother was in an accident that put her in a home in a coma Her father goes through his savings, his insurance, has to sell off everything that Kat loved her horse, their home, everything but an old car and a few clothes for her and her brother Then he loses his job The family is destitute, and it s all Kat s fault Or so she believes They are on their way to California for a new job for her dad when they stop at the gold mine On the tour, Calamity Kat sneaks away and falls down a deep hole In trying to find her way out, she meets a dragon Ye And his cache of gold But it isn t what Kat thinks it is Gold is what s left when a dragon dies and Ye is the last of his kind All Kat sees is a way for her family to get out of the mess they re in so, even though Ye shows her the way out, she takes one of the gold nuggets and starts the worst gold rush since the 1800 s In all the insanity, Kat comes to realize that it isn t the gold that s important, but the fact that she took it and she and her brother Dillon plot to get it back The story is funny, poignant, sad, and adventurous There are parts that made me go huh but so much of the rest of it is good that I let those spots go So, if you can suspend disbelief and allow a little bit of come on, really to go by, then pick this up A definite read me book


  10. Kerry Kerry says:

    Katlin, her father and brother, Dillon, are driving west in hopes of making it to San Francisco in time for Dad to start a new job They were living the ideal upper class, suburban life until Katlin s mother had an accident that has left her in a coma Her continuing care and mounting bills have cost Dad his job and bankrupted the family.Katlin has a serious obsession with all things gold gold shoes, gold jewelry, golden haired ponies When she sees a road sign advertising the Mollie Kathleen Katlin, her father and brother, Dillon, are driving west in hopes of making it to San Francisco in time for Dad to start a new job They were living the ideal upper class, suburban life until Katlin s mother had an accident that has left her in a coma Her continuing care and mounting bills have cost Dad his job and bankrupted the family.Katlin has a serious obsession with all things gold gold shoes, gold jewelry, golden haired ponies When she sees a road sign advertising the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado, Katlin begs her father to stop, Can t we do one fun thing Once on a tour of the mine, Katlin follows her obsession away from the group and falls down an old shaft And this is when she meets Ye, the last living dragon Ye is wise, experienced and enjoys a bit of witty repartee Kat is scared, excited not only by all the gold lying around , and smitten with Ye Once Ye shows her the way out of the mine, Katlin s mission is to keep the dragon s existence a secret This is, of course, nearly impossible when her disappearance and miraculous reappearance are the biggest thing to hit Cripple Creek since gold was discovered in 1891.Howell spends most of the novel exploring the aspects of keeping a dragon secret from the world and he really doesn t miss much This is a solidly imagined bit of magical realism He wraps things up neatly and satisfied my emotional need for Kat s family to get everything they need in the end On the other hand, once I met Ye, I wanted a lottime with him I don t have much to criticize but I must admit that I didn t find the book as much fun as I had hoped