Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1)

by Asia Citro (Author) Marion Lindsay (Illustrator)

Dragons and Marshmallows (Zoey and Sassafras #1)
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

With magical animals, science, mystery, and adventure -- the brand new series Zoey and Sassafras has something for everyone! Easy-to-read language and illustrations on nearly every page make this series perfect for a wide range of ages.

In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it's up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what's wrong. Will they be able to help little Marshmallow before it's too late? Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. There isn't a set formula for each book; Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research. Zoey models how to keep a science journal through her handwritten entries in each story. Each story is complete with a glossary of the kid-friendly definitions for scientific terms used.

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School Library Journal

Gr 1-3—Zoey and her cat, Sassafras, love to explore, play pretend, and learn. They make an excellent team. Unfortunately, Zoey is feeling blue because her mom is leaving for a work conference. While her mom finishes packing, Zoey makes a big discovery: a photograph that glows purple, hidden amongst her mom's papers. Zoey learns that magical animals come to the family's barn when they need assistance. With her mom away, it is up to Zoey and Sassafras to aid a sick baby dragon. Zoey puts her Thinking Goggles to work as she researches how to help the dragon. The book relies heavily on STEM themes (Zoey creates an experiment, considers a hypothesis, and gathers evidence), but the story line does not suffer. Concepts are explained concisely and clearly, and a short glossary provides valuable vocabulary building. The slightly larger font makes the text inviting for emerging readers, and the illustrations blend perfectly into the story. Sassafras and the dragon prove to be able sidekicks in the vein of Disney characters, which will appeal to readers. An African American family takes center stage, something not often seen in early chapter books. VERDICT This book is a natural fit for STEM collections and deserves a place in all libraries serving young readers.—Sarah Wethern, Douglas County Library, Alexandria, MN

Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Publishers Weekly

In this whimsical first book in the Zoey and Sassafras series, Zoey--a resourceful budding scientist with brown skin, springy curls, and a cat sidekick--learns that her mother has been secretly rehabilitating magical animals in their backyard. Naturally, Zoey wants to help, but when a sick baby dragon appears while her mother is away, she must use the tools available to her to help the dragon survive. Citro plays Zoey's anxieties against her can-do attitude, demonstrating how research, past experience, and the scientific method can come in handy (investigating what dragons like to eat, Zoey learns that they enjoy marshmallows but fish is a better choice). Dense blocks of text don't make for a terribly inviting reading experience, but Lindsay's cheery spot illustrations help, and Citro gracefully balances her story's scientific and fantasy elements. Simultaneously available: Monsters and Mold and Merhorses and Bubbles. Ages 5-9. (Mar.)

Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

A New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2017 Selection

A Mighty Girl Book of the Year

Asia Citro
Asia Citro, M. Ed, is a former classroom science teacher with a Master's in Science Education. She is the author of 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids, The Curious Kid's Science Book, A Little Bit of Dirt, and the Zoey and Sassafras chapter book series. She is also the creator of the popular blog Fun at Home with Kids. Her work has been featured on Apartment Therapy, The Chicago Tribune, Today, Disney Baby, MSN, King 5 TV, and Highlights, among others.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Innovation Press
Publication date
March 14, 2017
Zoey and Sassafras
BISAC categories
JUV036000 - Juvenile Fiction | Science & Technology
JUV002050 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Cats
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV001000 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure
JUV045000 - Juvenile Fiction | Readers | Chapter Books
JUV002270 - Juvenile Fiction | Animals | Dragons, Unicorns & Mythical
Library of Congress categories
NY Public Library Best Books for Kids
Selected 2017 - 2017
Washington Otter Award
Nominee 2018 - 2019
A Mighty Girl Book of the Year
2017 - 2017

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