The Pitbull Returns is the sequel to the best-selling book, The Dragon Defenders, by James Russell. As in the first book, The Pitbull Returns tells the adventures of brothers, Flynn and Paddy, on “The Island”, their home which they share with their parents, sister, horse, dog, and about 100 dragons.
The story in this sequel picks up where the first left off. Straight away, we meet The Pitbull, the short-tempered and ambitious rich man who is still determined to steal dragons from the island for his private collection. Only now, he also wants revenge on the boys. The Pitbull is even more intimidating than we remember, as witnessed in his callous treatment of his niece, Briar, and his constant bullying of the men who work for him.
I wondered where Russell might take this adventure after the terrific romp in The Dragon Defenders. He doesn’t disappoint. He increases the intrigue and jeopardy, as The Pitbull threatens the lives of the boys, their family, and the dragons. They must overcome men with guns, some helicopters, an armed shipped, and The Pitbull himself. There are several moments where I felt genuine distress, wondering how the boys could possibly survive and save the day.
They do save the day, of course, and in charactersitic style. The Dragon Brothers are bold and ingenious in the tradition of The Hardy Boys, only with a higher level of skill with shooting arrows and riding dragons! The book is filled with action, wonderfully written, and contains positive messages about teamwork, courage, and sticking up for others. And it also incorporates more clever features using the AR smartphone app. I used to teach Primary School and would certainly have enjoyed sharing this series with pupils in Years 3-6. It’s a rollicking adventure.
James’ first book in this series, The Dragon Defenders, is one of just two children’s novels by New Zealand authors on the new Whitcoulls Kids Top 50 and also the only children’s novel on the list by an indie publisher. Find out more about James in my Weekend Name Drop profile of him here. The Pitbull Returns is available on his website.