This novel cleverly mixes fact and fiction. It is 1835. Young Syms Covington is fiddle-player on board the HMS Beagle and assistant to Charles Darwin. Having survived being washed overboard, Syms makes an unexpected friend: a clever green lizard. Together they help each other survive poisonous giant centipede bites, thirst, an erupting volcano, and encounters with a fiercely protective winged fire-breathing creature. Galvin’s research into the Galapagos islands – as well as the historical setting in Victorian London and on board the small ship – is very convincing. As for the dragons, might they be real too?
Best Kids' Books of 2021