The Dragon at the North Pole

BOOK: The Dragon at the North Pole
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This is a work of fiction.
Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Text copyright © 2013 by Kate Klimo
Jacket art and interior illustrations copyright © 2013 by John Shroades

All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York.

Random House and the colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Klimo, Kate.
The dragon at the North Pole / Kate Klimo;
with illustrations by John Shroades. — First edition.
pages cm. — (Dragon keepers; book 6)
Summary: Using magic snowshoes, cousins Jesse and Daisy travel to the North Pole to retrieve their pet dragon.
eISBN: 978-0-307-97438-9
[1. Dragons—Fiction. 2. Magic—Fiction. 3. Santa Claus—Fiction. 4. Christmas—Fiction. 5. Cousins—Fiction.] I. Shroades, John, illustrator. II. Title.
PZ7.K67896 Dn 2013 [Fic]—dc23 2012041171

Random House Children’s Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read.


For Jim Thomas, honorary Dragon Keeper



Dear Mom and Dad, I hope my package arrived safely. Don’t open it until tomorrow morning. (Although it’s practically tomorrow there now anyway!) It’s your Christmas present from me and Daisy. I won’t spoil the
surprise, but I will say that Daisy and I made it. The only hint I’ll give is that we whipped it up in the blender! Uncle Joe and Aunt Maggie are having a big Christmas Eve party today, just for grown-ups, but that’s okay because Daisy and I had already planned to go to the grand opening of a new shop in town. It is called Alodie’s Alley. The store belongs to our friend who lives down the street, the lady with the awesome garden I told you about. I have to go now because Daisy is yelling for me. The party is
loud. Must be Uncle Joe’s Killer-Diller Loosey-Goosey Eggnog.

Daisy yelled again. Jesse hollered back through the open door of his bedroom, “Down in a minute!” Wishing his parents—who were in Africa—a merry Christmas, he clicked
, switched off the old desktop computer, and waited while the screen blinked and twitched and finally sputtered out. Then he slipped his backpack on over his hoodie and made his way downstairs.

Jesse had spent most of his life living outside of America, in places where Doctors Without Borders posted his parents. Last spring, a little after his tenth birthday, he had come to live with his ten-year-old cousin, Daisy, in America, in the little
northwestern town of Goldmine City. Not long after that, he and his cousin had become the Keepers of a very fast-growing baby dragon named Emerald—Emmy, for short.

Jesse wished Emmy could see the house. Aunt Maggie had really gone all out decorating the place, winding Christmas lights around the stair railing and even decking the halls with fresh boughs of holly. Emmy would love it. This being Emmy’s first Christmas, she was as keyed up as a kid in a candy store. Emmy lived in the barn behind the house, the only space big enough for a seven-month-old dragon who had, for the time being (and much to their relief), leveled off to the size of two full-grown elephants. The rule was she was not supposed to reveal herself to anyone but her Keepers, not even at Christmastime.

Carols blasted on the sound system in the living room. The guests, holding foaming cups of eggnog, laughed and talked and spilled out into the downstairs hallway. Jesse worked his way through the crowd toward the corner of the living room where the Christmas tree sparkled.

Jesse found Aunt Maggie near the fireplace, wearing one of her prettiest dresses. She was offering a platter of sesame crackers smeared with goat cheese to a rather skinny-looking Santa Claus
and a woman Jesse didn’t recognize at first because he had never seen her out of uniform: Ms. Mindy, the dogcatcher.

“Merry Christmas, everybody,” Jesse said.

When Jesse started to help himself to the crackers with both hands, Aunt Maggie gave him a narrow look and said, “Isn’t Miss Alodie offering refreshments at her grand opening?”

Jesse nodded as he swallowed a mouthful of pure deliciousness. “Why do you think I’m eating now?” Miss Alodie had some very strange ideas about food.

Aunt Maggie laughed.

The man dressed as Santa Claus said in a deep voice, “Ho-ho-ho, save some for Santa Claus! Remember, I still have my rounds to make later tonight.” Hiding beneath the fake white beard was Mr. Stinson, the weekday librarian at the Goldmine City Public Library.

“I meant to ask,” Jesse said with a grin. “How do your reindeer pull the sled if there isn’t any snow on the ground?”

Ms. Mindy said, “Oh, Santa finds ways. He has to because it never snows in Goldmine City.”

“At least not more than a dusting,” added Aunt Maggie.

Ms. Mindy said, “This year it’s so warm you can
go without a coat. I feel sorry for the dogs stifling in their winter fur.”

“Well, you never know,” Aunt Maggie said with a wink at Jesse. “Maybe we’re in for a Christmas miracle.”

There were times when Aunt Maggie reminded Jesse so much of his mother that it made him just the tiniest bit homesick. “Maybe,” Jesse said with a shy shrug.

“Don’t you worry, young man,” Mr. Stinson said to Jesse, his eyes twinkling. “Whatever the weather, Santa always comes through.”

Jesse did his best to twinkle back. It had been years since he had believed in Santa. Number one, outside of America, Santa wasn’t such a big deal. Number two, his parents were scientists and didn’t encourage such beliefs. And number three, Santa was for
kids. And he wasn’t a little kid. He was a Dragon Keeper. Still, he hadn’t believed in dragons before Emmy hatched out of her geode, so who knew?

“I think I hear Daisy calling,” Jesse said as he popped one more sesame cracker in his mouth, pocketed another, and wended his way back through the throng.

you are!” said Daisy, jumping up and down with excitement the moment Jesse swung
open the kitchen door. She had tied a sparkly blue Christmas garland around her head. The pointy pink tips of her ears poked through her pale blond hair. She wore a red sweater, green jeans, and fuzzy white boots.

“Hey, Jess!” Uncle Joe called out. “You’re just in time to crack open the next goose egg.” Uncle Joe was working at the kitchen table, where he had set up the blender. His idea of dressing up for Christmas was to tie a red ribbon around his gray ponytail and wear a green T-shirt with red letters that said
. Below the letters was a picture of a rock with a Santa hat on it. Uncle Joe was a geologist.

Jesse went over and picked up one of the big gray goose eggs sitting on the table. He cracked it with a butter knife and dumped the gloopy contents into the blender. Daisy poured heavy cream in after it. It felt a little weird to be making something edible in the blender when he and Daisy had spent the last four weeks using it to make paper. After much experimentation, they had used just about everything
goose eggs in their paper recipes.

On the table were two festively wrapped cardboard mailing tubes. The one in blue gift wrap contained
the paper they had made for Miss Alodie. The red one was Emmy’s.

“Poppy, we need to head out to Alodie’s Alley now,” Daisy said.

“Be back by six-thirty,” Uncle Joe said.

Daisy signaled for Jesse to turn around. She fit the two gift-wrapped tubes into his backpack. She couldn’t zip it up because the tubes stuck out the top.

Uncle Joe turned on the blender.

Jesse spoke to Daisy under the whirring noise. “Are we giving Emmy her gift now or waiting until after we come back from town?”

“After,” Daisy said. “That way we can tuck her in.”

“Plan,” Jesse said. “She’s been bouncing off the walls lately.”

Though Emmy was only seven months old, she behaved like a rebellious preteen with a tendency to revert to adorably childlike behavior. For instance, she read movie magazines, but she liked to be tucked in at night. This was fine with Jesse and Daisy. Like most parents, they didn’t want their darling to grow up too fast. And tucking her in at night gave them a chance to check up on her.

Uncle Joe switched off the blender. “Hey, what
are you two elves conspiring about?” he asked.

BOOK: The Dragon at the North Pole
7.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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