Measure for Measure: Gauge (The Dragons of Wayward Crescent) by Chris D'Lacey
Lucy Pennykettle could definitely smell burning. This was not unusual in her house at Number 42 Wayward Crescent. Lucy's mother, Liz, made clay dragons for living, and as everyone knows, dragons breathe fire--well, some of Liz's special dragons did, anyway.
Lucy's mom is more than a gifted potter with a talent for one-of-a-kind dragon sculptures. She is also a secret keeper of the ancient magical "flame" that is capable of preserving the ancient race of dragons in her little figures.
In the second of Chris D'Lacey's beginning chapter series of The Dragons of Wayward Crescent, Lucy Pennykettle falls in love with her mom's latest creation, Gauge, an earnest little dragon bearing an arcane device which enables him to calibrate measuring devices with perfect accuracy.
And it isn't long before Gauge's special abilities are needed. Lucy learns that the the town's historic library clock tower is to be demolished and replaced with a digital timepiece quite out of character with her small English town. Quickly, Liz and Lucy organize a demonstration of preservationists to confront their pigheaded councilman, Roger Trustable, in front of a hastily assembled collection of regional television cameras and townspeople. Councilman Trustable staunchly insists that the clock's ancient works are hopelessly beyond repair. While her mom and teacher Mrs. Baxter divert attention by chaining themselves to the library carts downstairs, Lucy tries to sneak Gauge into the tower so that he and his magical measuring device can diagnose the old clock's malady and find a way to get it running properly again.
Trustable and his henchman Mr. Higson discover Lucy's plan and, just as Gauge gets to work diagnosing the problem, they literally attempt to clog up the clock works. But their malefactions summon an unsuspected ally for Lucy and Gauge--the tower's resident ghost Sir Rufus Trenchcombe, who alone knows the historic way to restart the clock.
Lucy Pennykettle and her tiny dragon cohorts are novel and engaging characters in the latest in this series, Gauge (The Dragons Of Wayward Crescent) (Scholastic, 2010). For the youngest fans of dragon lore and the fantasy-loving followers of Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House series, these beginning chapter books, with their lively illustrations and their close-to-home adventures in cozy settings, are a good fit.
For older readers, who like their dragons a bit more hot-tempered, see D'Lacey's middle reader adventure series, The Last Dragon Chronicles, beginning with his best-selling adventure tale, The Fire Within.