This is hands - down the most charming book I've read this year! I could not put it down; I love the character of Thomas and wanted to find out how his story would end. Thomas comes from a humble home -- his father is a leathersmith, and he spends a lot of his time caring for his eight siblings. He is a wonderful storyteller and is much loved by his family. He is about 12 years old, but is very small for his age. He dreams of being a knight some day, but that seems like a very unlikely prospect.
Amazingly, he gets an opportunity to go to castle and become a squire for Sir Gerald. He is the object of some ridicule, as he is so small he can't even hold a full sized sword. He has a wonderful work ethic and tries hard to improve his skills.
The kingdom is at war, and most of the knights are away fighting. Because manpower is needed, when a knight falls there is an opportunity for his squire to take his place. Thomas goes to war with Sir Gerald, but fortunately his knight comes through the fighting safely.
When Thomas returns to the castle, he finds out that the princess has been kidnapped by a dragon! The elderly king has no one to send to rescue her, but he is impressed enough with Thomas's heart and bravery to make him a knight and send him on the quest. Little Thomas is not tall enough to ride a horse, but he sets off on Bartholemew, a donkey.
As he travels on his quest, Thomas ends up losing all the things that were supposed to help him. He also faces a horrible monster, but somehow ends up making it to the island where the dragon lives. He finds the princess, who was kidnapped to take care of the dragon queen's children! I don't want to give away everything, but the ending is very satisfying and I think my third graders are going to love this story.
Here is the brochure I made to go along with "Thomas and the Dragon Queen." Just click to download.