Dragonfell by Sarah Prineas
Another review from Lisa Freitag!
Sarah Prineas has a gift for writing for kids without compromising either plot or language by unnecessary simplification. As a mom who has read a lot of books out loud, I have appreciated her straightforward and respectful prose since her first novels (The Magic Thief series). Dragonfell is for slightly older readers, aimed at 8 to 12 years old, but could be read aloud to younger kids.
Rafi, the boy whose chief talent seems for getting into trouble, and Maud, the somewhat clueless and unexpectedly brave girl scientist, do, indeed, find the dragons, as stated on the cover copy. But they do not find them in the usual fantasy places, or by the usual magical means. Adults who have read a lot of fantasy will find it fairly predictable, but kids will love it.