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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
A Jewel on Sapphire is a brisk, action-packed chapter book by Catherine Fitzsimmons. Perky young Mia lives on a futuristic space station—the Terran Exoplanetary Outpost—called Sapphire. Mia is actively involved in a fundraiser for her school. But her mother, the station director, is trying to investigate some strange electrical problems that have hit Sapphire. When Mia finds a cute little alien creature that looks a lot like a dragon, she’d do anything to keep it and pretty soon it looks like she might have to. Ruby the dragon-alien has been causing the station’s electrical issues. Once Ruby gets sick, Mia can’t lie anymore to hide her new pet and there’s still the fundraiser to think about. What will be the consequences?
Very appealing for girls ages 7-10, A Jewel on Sapphire offers good role models and a positive multi-cultural cast. There is strong underlying creativity in the space station’s world so that living on a spinning tube in space feels like the real life a girl like Mia might experience on Earth, a noteworthy accomplishment when the situations are so fantastical. Part girl-finds-her-own-dragon tale and part Star Trek for children, Catherine Fitzsimmons' story is a pleasant read with a delightful feeling of safety. I liked how people on Sapphire look out for each other and that would make me very comfortable in giving this book to children. The idea of finding a creature that eats the electricity in a planet’s magnetic field is also tantalizingly inventive, like many things about the world of Sapphire, and a great launching place for kids to start using their own imaginations.