Zog, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (Alison Green Books, 2010 in the UK)
By happy chance the Book Depository accidentally included this picture book in with my recent order, and said I was welcome to keep it. I'd heard about this one--it was the winner of the Galaxy Children's Book Award in 2010, and Julia Donaldson was well known to me already as the author of The Gruffalo.
"Madam Dragon ran a school, many moons ago.
She taught young dragons all the things that dragons need to know.
Zog, the biggest dragon, was the keenest one by far.
He tried his hardest every day to win a golden star."
But alas for Zog! He is rather accident prone, and his efforts to fly, roar, and breath fire all come to painful conclusions. Happily, he is rescued each time by a girl who ministers to his hurts...and when it comes time for the next test of draconic ability, Princess Kidnapping, Pearl is there for him again, kindly allowing herself to be captured.
Pearl stays with the dragons, serving as their resident doctor...but princess kidnapped by dragons have a habit of attracting knights who want to rescue them (even if they don't want to be rescued).
"A year went by, and in Year Five, the dragons learned to fight.
"Right!" said Madam Dragon. "Here comes a real live knight!"
"Up spoke the knight: "My name," he said,
"is Gadabout the Great.
I've come to rescue Princess Pearl.
I hope I'm not too late."
But all ends happily, with Pearl, the knight, and Zog setting off to begin a new career as the Flying Doctors.
It's fun, it's charming, and it has a nice point. The verse in which it is written both scans nicely and has great swing to it. I don't quite see it as an award winner myself, but Zog and co are truly likable dragons who should delight the young reader.
It's handy to have a book in verse to contribute to Poetry Friday! The round-up is at Carol's Corner today.