The Glorious Race of Magical Beasts
Twelve-year-old Eli is an apprentice librarian at the largest, grandest library in the world, and his dearest wish is to become head librarian one day. When his beloved grandmother falls ill, he needs to somehow find a lot of money for her medical treatment, and fast. Eli turns his attention to the Glorious Race of Magical Beasts, an event that happens every year, usually somewhere particularly perilous and full of spiky dangers. The human participant must travel at all times with their beast, and so unicorns and dragons are usually the favoured creatures of choice, but other animals often join in too, from flying monkeys and rainbow panthers to star gazelles and phoenixes.
Eli finds that the only requirement is that the beast in question must be magical in some way, so there is nothing to stop him from entering the race with Humphrey, his moon tortoise. Moon tortoises are quite rare, and very beautiful, since they shine with the pale light of the moon, but Humphrey isn’t fearsome and he certainly isn’t fast. And with his love of books, briefcases, and tweed suits, Eli is no natural adventurer either.
He enters the race regardless, and soon finds himself in an unlikely partnership with Raven—a fierce daredevil who isn’t afraid of breaking the rules. Not only is she a skilled archer, but her creature is an ice hare—one of the fastest animals in the world. If the two children put aside their difference and work together, they might just reach the finish line.