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The Dragon of Cripple Creek

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  161 ratings  ·  42 reviews
When Kat and her father and brother visit the Mollie Kathleen, an old gold mine now open for tours by the busload, Kat gets lost from the group and falls down a shaft, where she discovers an awe-inspiring world of fantasy come to life. She meets an ancient dragon—the last of his kind—and discovers a secret about the gold that litters the creature's den and why dragons thro ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Harry N. Abrams
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Monica Edinger
Mar 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dragons and gold. Done and done, right? But how about a dragon in a Colorado gold mine? That is just where Troy Howell puts his in The Dragon of Cripple Creek, a uniquely American literary fairy tale.

It is the story of Kat Graham who grew up insisting on gold everywhere: golden bedroom walls, a gold-bedecked bed, gold shoes, gold-rimmed eyeglasses, a golden-colored pony named Goldie, and even --- when she was four and into pirates --- a broken front tooth capped in gold. And so of course when go
Katlin Graham is on a cross-country move with her father and brother. Leaving their home (and their comatose mother) behind, the destitute family must make it to California within a few days in order for her father to land a job. While staying in the Midwest, the family goes on a tour of the Molly Kathleen, an old mine that has long been out of use. Ever adventurous, Kat literally stumbles upon a closed section of the mine, and in an Alice in Wonderland kind of adventure, falls to the deepest bo ...more
May 15, 2012 added it
My desire to read this book was three fold. One, the author was a Troy Howell-- a man I never recognized as an author but knew as that fantastic artist for the American 'Redwall' covers. Second, the story centered around a dragon. And three, it took place in Cripple Creek, the grownup arcade, the little town alive with coin clinking and what sounds like 50,000 gameboys blasting at once. Suffice it to see I didn't enjoy my last trip to Cripple Creek, but it's a place I know, and so the book neede ...more
Leslie Kitchin
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read this book to a 5th grade class (I'm a librarian). It was really too long for a once a week read to a class, in my opinion. It would be much better as a daily read to a class or I think I would have enjoyed reading it to myself more. Another review said it's a great story that got a bit bogged down in the telling and I can agree with that. I did really enjoy the story and Ye the Dragon is a lovely and moving character. We discussed the book when we finished. I hope the kids understood the ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was good. Enjoyable. Would have been done much sooner had I read it more often than just on my short lunch breaks at work.

I liked the story, quite a bit, actually. There were moments when I felt it did not flow overly well, but then the next day I was completely lost in it's words, hating to put it down.

There is a great moral to the story. Great read for children, of all ages, who devour chapter books.
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have dreamed this, the dimming of the heavens.
Like the man who goes a little more blind each day and does not know, until the day he wakens in the night and feels the sun in his face.
My son and I tried to read this book together and it just proved to be a little to above his level and I just couldn't get interested in it enough to want to read it to/with him.
Anita McDivitt Barrios
Jun 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade, fantasy
My son cried when he read this one. He loved the dragon Ye.
Jun 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, ya
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: 5th-8th graders
Katlin, her father and brother, Dillon, are driving west in hopes of making it to San Francisco in time for Dad to start a new job. They were living the ideal upper class, suburban life until Katlin’s mother had an accident that has left her in a coma. Her continuing care and mounting bills have cost Dad his job and bankrupted the family.

Katlin has a serious obsession with all things gold – gold shoes, gold jewelry, golden haired ponies. When she sees a road sign advertising the Mollie Kathleen
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
First off let me state that the book is actually 385 pages long, not 304 like it says. But that is a good thing, because those last 80 pages are where the story wraps up and gives you answers. I really enjoyed this book. A friend of mine suggested this book and actually acquired a signed copy for me. My 9 year old daughter read it first and loved it. So I had no choice, but to pick it up so she and I could talk about it. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I connected with the characters. I w ...more
Brandy Painter
Originally posted here.

The Dragon of Cripple Creek by Troy Howell is a book about a dragon guarding gold in an Old West mine and the girl who discovers him and his dragon gold. There is also an interesting sibling story thrown in.

The novel has a lot going for it: adventure, siblings working together, a dragon. Most of it works very well too. Kat is a fun heroine, one who makes ridiculously bad decisions, but you can't help loving at the same time. Her brother is one of those characters I love, a
May 01, 2011 rated it liked it
A cool American fantasy idea that gets a bit bogged down in the telling. Kat and her family have had a rough time of it. Her mom's in a coma, her dad lost his job, and now with her older brother the three of them are traveling cross country to California. Along the way they stop in a town where an old gold mine called the Mollie Kathleen gives Kat a tour of an underground world. While there, she unexpectedly gets separated from the group and meets Ye, an ancient dragon, the last of his kind. Tak ...more
Shanshad Whelan
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens, fantasy, mg
I actually liked this one more than I expected, especially considering that the title, plus the uninspiring green dragon on the cover did nothing to really excite me. The book isn't a "happily ever after fairy tale" and the protagonist makes that clear pretty early on. I do think there are a few too many characters to keep track of, but other than that it's a bittersweet and magical story with some really lovely writing.

Some authors get fancy with the writing and it destroys the flow of the stor
Donald Hoffman
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a delightful story of a headstrong young girl named Kat, who stumbles on the last living dragon on earth. Troy Howell has captured the persona of the dragon in exactly the right manner. The Dragon is a creature of interminable age, with a great sense of history and love of cliches. The dialog is quick and witty throughout the book, understandable to young readers and adults. Kat's relationship with her clueless father and her very observant kid brother is priceless and sets the framework ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a sleeper hit for me. I was not crazy about the cover or the title but I met the author about six months ago and wanted to give it a try. This was an unusual twist on the fantasy genre and was surprisingly delightful. The word choices were perfect. You could see each characters voice within the word choice which perfectly help you to transition to the new character being introduced. The vocabulary was fabulous and there was a theme for adults, greed. As well as there was the enjoyable t ...more
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Current day, real characters, times, places, and situations with just a little mix of fantasy, handled as surprising reality. Such a clever and new take on dragons, the origin of gold, and why dragons love gold. One I had certainly never read or heard of before. Very creative writing, believable even though fantasy, and kept me interested till the very end. And even better, considering most books of today, it DID have an ending, rather than just creating the beginning ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 10-12, dragon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: youth, fantasy, dragons
OH MY GOODNESS. THE FEELS. I DIED. I seriously haven't been this enamoured by a book in a long time; I loved it so much.

I think that adults will like this books much more than youth reading it will. It's true there is a lot of flowery language and metaphors that just go over kids' heads.

By fans of urban fantasy authors, like Neil Gaiman, MUST pick up this title. It is a moving coming-of-age story and what it means to believe and what happiness really is.
Aside from most of this book being a total downer (mother in a coma, once-wealthy family now practically penniless, narrator falling down a mine shaft) it has an interesting premise and kids who like dragons unmixed with the usual pinnings of fantasy may enjoy it. Sort of a modern-day gold rush tale that would be an excellent read-aloud for a classroom of 5th or 6th graders.
Jun 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bks-grade-4-5
A good idea that got bogged down in the telling. And the cover-art dragon looks nothing like the dragon depicted in the book. In fact, Kat makes a point of telling the "dragon fanatics" that Ye isn't green.
Lara Lleverino
Written by my friend Troy Howell this book has lovely characters and wonderful word play that kids will love to read. It was read to my 6 year old niece and she loved it so much she wanted to be the main character for Halloween. We start reading it to our girls tonight!
Jason Gusman
Oct 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
A good children's book has a moral. This has that. But that's it! The story is littered, literally littered, with trash. From the moment she is found to the arrival at the quarry, we are dealing with crap. That's 246 pages of crap. And it doesn't mean the rest is good either. The rest is just ok.
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
One Sentence Review: A thoroughly American mythology can't quite save this otherwise forgetable dragon tale that's beset with repetition.
Jun 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Simply delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed this one day read. Loved the characters, loved the dragon. Had a good little smiling cry. Five out of five for this one!
Jul 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Humorous, sad, fantastical, adventure-filled...but some of the humor will not be recognized by children, I think. A good choice for summer reading.
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, fantasy
I enjoyed this story by Troy Howell. It is his first novel and explored the nature of gold fever, family relationships, and dragons too.
Aug 31, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: mg-fiction
ABA New Voices pick for MG 2011
Kate Hastings
Sep 13, 2011 marked it as to-read
RL 650
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