Dragonfly: The Next Guardian is a work of fiction about dinosaurs. It's about a young Troodon named Dragonfly who saves the dinosaur community from an evil Daspletosaurus named Blackclaw. Along the way, he befriends a young female Einiosaurus named Styra (even though Troodons are carnivores and einiosaurs are herbivores) and eventually defeats Blackclaw.
This work provides examples of:
- Artistic License Paleontology: Almost completely averted. (Not surprisingly, since the author is well-informed about dinosaurs). Unlike other fictional books about dinosaurs, all of the dinosaurs in The Tale of Dragonfly lived at the same time and in the same region. The setting is the Late Cretaceous period in western North America. Besides the fact that the dinosaurs can talk, everything is pretty much scientifically accurate. In fact, The Tale of Dragonfly may be the most accurate fictional work about dinosaurs ever made.
- Carnivore Confusion: The author makes it very clear that carnivorism is okay, as long as it's just for food. Dragonfly and his family hunt and kill other dinosaurs for food. Blackclaw is evil because he kills for joy, not for food. To add a whole new level of confusion, the dinosaurs are segregated, with carnivores not being able to interact with herbivores. However, Dragonfly eventually ends up befriending Styra, because Troodons are too small to kill Einiosaurus.
- Death of a Child: At the beginning, all of Dragonfly's siblings are eaten by a Chirostenotes while they are still inside their egg. Blackclaw also kills a baby Saurornitholestes in the story.
- I'll Never Tell You What I'm Telling You!: When Blackclaw kidnaps Styra, he asks her where Dragonfly is. She says "No! I'll never tell you that Dragonfly is at his nest, close to the river, about 5 miles from here". This was obviously Played for Laughs.
- Long-Lost Relative: The entire basic plot of the second book is about Dragonfly finding his long-lost sister. Before Dragonfly's eggs hatched, a Chirostenotes killed most of the eggs in the nest before the babies hatched. Only Dragonfly's egg survived. However, his sister also survived, but her egg rolled into a pterosaur nest, and she was adopted by the pterosaur parents. On one of their annual migrations, the pterosaurs got confused and ended up in Mongolia. Dragonfly's sister then ended up living in Mongolia. Several years later, Dragonfly travelled to Mongolia and met his sister.
- Stock Dinosaurs: Mostly averted. The only stock dinosaurs featured are Troodon and Parasaurolophus. Non-stock relatives that are very similar to their stock cousins are used instead. For example, Dromaeosaurus and Saurornitholestes are used instead of Velociraptor, Daspletosaurus is used instead of Tyrannosaurus rex, Einiosaurus is used instead of Triceratops, and Alamosaurus is used instead of Brontosaurus .
- Super-Persistent Predator: Blackclaw. He keeps chasing Dragonfly and Styra for the whole book. He wants to kill Dragonfly for revenge because he inadvertently humiliated him near the beginning.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Averted. Blackclaw kills a baby Saurornitholestes, and he doesn't feel bad about it at all. In fact, he is very proud of himself. Also, the flashback in the second book, where Dragonfly's siblings are all killed by an egg-eating Chirostenotes.