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My son loves to have a bedtime story and my daughter loves to read so they are a partnership made in heaven.We all sit in their bedroom around a book ~ possibly the only time during the day when there are no arguments and all is calm. Perfect.
We ended up buying this from the school book fair at a price of £5.99. It is the hardback version and can be found slightly cheaper online but I think that was a good price to pay for a quality book. The 16 pages are made from quite a thick, chunky cardboard so, even though we have had it for some time now, it isn't showing much sign of wear like some of the paperback books we have. It is A5 in size so it doesn't take up much room in their book basket.
Julia Donaldson has written a gloriously funny and thought-provoking book about a dragon called Zog. He has to learn different things from dragon school through the years and has to perfect his skills. Although he isn't very good at lots of things, he meets Princess Pearl and a friendship forms. What will happen though when it comes to his test to rescue a princess? Will Sir Gadabout hurt Zog? It all gets a bit concerning at times for us as we quickly turn the pages to find out what happens to Zog as he becomes such a loveable character.
It is written in a poetic form which makes the story flow as well as teaching my eldest about rhyming words. Very clever as it's teaching without them knowing and there is also repetition in it which both children can recite.
"Now that you've been shown, you can practise on your own." A life skill at an early age.
It's not too long but long enough to provide a 15 minute story and conversation before they get into bed.
Axel Scheffler illustrates the book with vibrant, colourful dragons and lots of background detail. Absolutely beautiful and I really wouldn't mind lots of the pages as posters for my children as there is so much to look at.
This is sure to be a classic book one day that every child will remember from their childhood. The Donaldson/Scheffler double-act has yet again triumphed. They were behind 'The Gruffalo' and 'The Gruffalo's child'.
I strongly recommended this book to anyone with children, no matter what age. My daughter enjoys reading it at age 6 and my 3 year old son enjoys it being read to him. There is also such opportunity with it to teach other things such as colours and new words.
It was the winner of the Galaxy National Children's Book of the Year in 2010. A fantastic achievement and I can thoroughly see why it won.
ISBN : 978-1-407132-33-4
Like many others, we first came across the wonderful partnership of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler when we purchased the by-now-infamous book, The Gruffalo. We loved The Gruffalo and like many others I am sure, found that it was the book that we read over and over again at every bedtime and quite often during the day when our little people decided to bring it to us for yet another rendition. We have now built our Julia Donaldson library and have found many of her books to be just as good (and in some cases even better *cough* Room on the Broom *cough*) as the Gruffalo. I am pleased to say that Zog is one of these...
"Zog, the biggest dragon, was the keenest one by far. He tried his hardest every day to win a golden star"...
The story of Zog, unsurprisingly tells the story of Zog, a large bright orange dragon who is the most eager dragon at Madam Dragon's school for young dragons. As the quote above says, he tries his hardest every day to win a precious golden star, but unfortunately never quite manages it. The story follows Zog through the school and show him trying, but never quite succeeding to win the coveted golden star from Madam Dragon. For example, in year 1 the dragons learnt to fly and all was going well until poor Zog crashes head first into a large tree. Luckily for Zog, a young girl called Pearl always happens to be around to help bandage him up and send him on his way, ready for another failed attempt at getting a blasted golden star and the inevitable injury that goes with it!
You'll be glad to hear that Zog does eventually get a golden star in year 4 with a lot of help from Pearl, who just happens to be a princess and lets him "capture" her as part of the "How to capture a Princess" task set by Madam Dragon! A knight comes along to rescue Princess Pearl from the dragons, but Pearl is no ordinary princess and she doesn't fancy a future "prancing round the palace in a silly frilly dress" but instead has dreams of becoming a doctor and so tells the knight this in no uncertain terms. Luckily it turns out that the knight quite fancies being a doctor too and Zog finds his dream career right there in front of him - he can be their ambulance to which Madam proclaims it to be "an excellent career! Hooray!
We love this book and I have to say that it is now one of my favourites. The pictures are lovely to look at, lots to see and point out, they are both brightly coloured and wonderfully detailed. The story is easy to read and flows really well with a nice rhyme throughout. We have the hardback version and the book is a great size so that everyone can see and it's nicely durable with a dust cover to protect it too.
I love the fact that the storyline appeals to both girls and boys (and mummies and daddy's too actually!). Whilst it is about a school of dragons, they are all friendly and colourful and there is no scariness to the story or the illustrations.
One of the things I love the most is that Princess Pearl is a girl who aspires to be more that just royalty. She is determined to be a doctor and she is a pretty kick ass one at that! How refreshing to have a story where a girl wants to do something to help people rather than be waited on hand and foot or to just be famous for the sake of it! Zog is a pretty good role model too, showing that whilst you might not be good at everything, if you keep trying then you will eventually succeed.
I am happy to read this to my children as often as they like, because it really is very enjoyable to read. If you like other books by Julia Donaldson, you really should give this one a try. I bet you won't regret it!
At the time of writing, you can buy Zog from Amazon in a variety of formats and I have given the prices below:
Hardback - £6.99
Paperback - £4.61
Board Book - £4.49
Zog is a wonderfully colourful story about a dragon who is continually set new tasks at school as part of his learning curriculum.
The book follows Zog a popular orange dragon, as he learns various tasks like flying, breathing fire and kidnapping princesses. Inevitably for a beginner some of these things go horribly wrong and Zog ends up requiring help from a young princess who affectionately looks after him, helping him when he singes his tale or needs a princess to capture for his studies.
As the story develops, Zog and the princess grow older and a brave knight comes to rescue the princess giving Zog the chance to complete his final school exam, fighting brave knights. Will Zog win the fight, or will something else happen. As this is a book for very young children there is obviously a happy ending that avoids violence and shows a different option which is much more pro-active and caring.
This is another in a series of great books by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, to start with the animation is probably my favourite in any of their collaborations, there are a myriad of dragons and the colours are fantastic, there is a lot of attention to detail, but nothing looks angry or aggressive. It is a beautiful looking book and matches the story perfectly.
The words rhyme and the story develops in repetitive couplets, whilst not as good as the Gruffalo or what the ladybird heard, this is a good book for kids between 2-4, it has some interesting themes and shows that even if your destiny is pre-set because of who you are there are other options, Zog chooses one of these and is encouraged to do so by his teacher and friends.
I found the story good fun, enjoyable and informative and my little one loves it, i'm not sure if there is a hardback version but we have the paperback which is slightly too big and requires lots of wrestling to ensure little one doesn't rip the pages in an enthusiastic attempt to get more involved.
The paperback is £4, or £1.52 used on Amazon and i'd say it is great value, if you can get a used hardback version this would be better though.
Overall this is a fun and informative story, packed with colour and wonderful animation. This is easy to read and enjoy and will be loved by your children.
Since my son was given "Room on the Broom" and "The Gruffalo" as a baby, we have always been big fans of Julia Donaldson in this house. We have now amassed a significant collection of her books, and one of the current favourites is "Zog". Like The Gruffalo, Zog is illustrated by Axel Scheffler and the combination of Donaldson's rhyming text and Scheffler's trademark illustrations make it extra appealing to both of my children. My six year old was very into this book for a while after he first got it, especially while he was going through a phase where he was very interested in the idea of dragons. However, it is now my almost three year old that has adopted Zog as one of her current favourites - and we are reading it most nights at the moment as one of her bedtime stories.
Zog is the story of a young dragon who goes to school to learn all the essential skills for being a dragon. The school is run by Madame Dragon who teaches her young charges "all the things that dragons need to know". In Year One, the dragons start by learning to fly and progress to other such critical dragon skills as roaring, breathing fire and capturing princesses. However, every time Zog goes off to practice one of his new-found skills, he meets with a mishap. When he practices flying, he ends up crashing into a tree and when he masters breathing fire, he gets so excited by his achievement that he twirls round while still breathing out flames and sets the tip of his own wing alike. Luckily, there is a little girl who is always on hand to administer some medical attention - a plastic, a peppermint, a stretchy bandage - and eventually, to reveal herself as a real live princess so that Zog can 'rescue' her and finally earn his golden star.
Like most Julia Donaldson books, the story is written in rhyme which means the words flow off the tongue easily and make it a very pleasurable book to read. There is also a predictable pattern to the story which I think appeals to young children. Each part starts with the same basic story of Madame Dragon teaching the young dragons a new skill, then Zog goes off to practice, something goes wrong and Princess Pearl steps in to save the day. There is a happy ending as well, which I see as important in stories aimed at this particular age group. The rhyming style of the text also helps with children who are just starting to read, as if they can understand the way that rhyming works, they can often figure out what the word is by sounding it out using their phonics skills. I haven't actually tested my six year old out on reading Zog, as I suspect he knows the book off by heart anyway, but even if they feel they are 'too old' to listen to this as a story, it may still hold their attention as something to read independently.
In my opinion, Axel Scheffler's illustrations also bring a lot to this story. The dragons all seem to have their own personality and their facial expressions are brilliant. The illustrations add to the comedy of the text as well and create good points for discussion. Also, like other books by this combination, there are elements of the illustrations of other stories in the text as well - whether that is the hidden Gruffalo on one of the pages, or a young red dragon which my daughter swears is the one from 'Room on the Broom' or just the similarities in the woodland animals. We seem to spend a lot of time talking about the pictures, which I feel is a sign of a book that is well illustrated.
I feel that Zog is very appealing to young children. The school setting, and the learning of new skills, is something that they can relate to and there is a lot of comedy through Zog's frequent accidents which always makes my daughter laugh. She never fails to find him setting his own wing on fire hysterically funny and asks to see that particular page over and over again. It is also not a book that is aimed at a specific gender - ok, dragons could be perceived as a 'boy' thing, but Princess Pearl is a very strong female character who starts off by looking after the dragons (which appeals to my two year old who loves to 'look after' her toys and make them better) but eventually reveals her desire to escape the princess lifestyle of 'prancing round the palace in a silly, frilly dress' as she would much prefer to be a doctor. In a world where the average three and four year old girl seems to be obsessed by Disney princesses, this makes her a very positive role model.
Zog is available in various formats - hardback, paperback and board book - and the cheapest version on Amazon is currently £2.79.
I would definitely recommend this book. We have had many happy bedtimes cuddled up reading this and I'm sure we will be having many more. Having read it most nights for the last week, I am kind of hoping we move on to a new obsession soon but this is still a book that I enjoy reading and that my children enjoy listening to. In summary, it is an entertaining story with a great deal of humour, accompanied by illustrations which are full of character and a perfect complement to the text.
We seem to read quite a lot of Julia Donaldson books in our house but thats because they are so good. They are fun, short stories that I find really capture the imagination of little ones and are books that they want to read again and again. This is true of Zog, one of my little girls favourite books.
From the back of the book, "Zog is the keenest dragon in school. He's also the most accident-prone, flying into trees and even setting his own wing on fire. Wille he ever win a golden star? Zog is a really cute, friendly looking dragon who is in dragon school learning all the things that dragons can do. For example, he and his friends learn how to fly, how to roar and how to breath fire, all the things that dragons need to do. Along the way Zog encounters a few problems but he is helped by the friendly Princess Pearl. When it comes to the point where Zog needs to capture a princess, Pearl steps in and helps out her new friend. This is the part of the book I love as Pearl doesn't want to be a regular princess, she wants to be a doctor and help to fix people. I think this is a wonderful profession for a little girl to want to be and I actually love reading this book to my little girl as I want her to know that there are limitless options open to her out in the big wide world and being a doctor is a great thing for a little girl to want to be.
The book is written in a wonderful rhyming way, just like a lot of Julia Donaldson's books and I find this makes it really easy to read as the words flow off the page and its also a frat way to remember the book. We are often quoting little lines from this book in our everyday life which I think is fun.
The Illustrations are wonderfully done again as usual with Julia Donaldson books by Axel Scheffler. He really brings Zog alive and the pages of the forest are wonderfully colourful and bright and it feels as if you are in the story when you are enjoying it.
We have the paperback version which costs £6.99.
ZOG is written by the fantastic Julia Donaldson, author of the much loved 'The Gruffalo'. Written in her wonderful rhyming style, ZOG sees Julia team up once again with the fantastic illustrator Axle Scheffler.
The story follows ZOG the dragon through his comical and rather accident prone endeavours to win a golden star during his five years at Dragon School. Accompany ZOG as he learns how to fly, roar and breathe fire, how to capture a princess and fight a real life knight, all with a little bit of help from a little girl who just happens to show up with exactly the right thing to help ZOG.
Who is the little girl? Will ZOG ever earn a coveted Golden Star? Enjoy this wonderfully told and beautifully illustrated story to find out.
ZOG is a fantastic story for children aged between 3 and 7 and one that Mums and Dads everywhere will not mind reading time and time again.
Published by Alison Green Books at Scholastic, the hardback version of ZOG carries a cover price of £10.99 although can be found cheaper on the likes of Amazon and ebay.
I read recently that the traditional Fairy Tale is somewhat out of favour these days, with books like those produced by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Alex Scheffer - "The Gruffalo" and "Stickman" are previous works, it's actually easy to see why parents and children alike are enjoying contemporary children's books more than the stories of old. The duo have produced books that,arguably, have become classics in their own time, loved by parents and children alike and etched in the memory of many, word for word. In this family we can reel off entire passages from many of the books in unison. So would their latest book live up to the others or is "Zog" destined to be a bitter disappointment for those who've come to love the gentle rhyme of Donaldson and the detail-filled illustrations of Scheffer? In this family at least this latest title is a resounding success.
Zog is the story of a dragon and his progress through school. Like many a human child he wants to earn a golden star for his endeavours. Each year as successively the reptilian pupils are introduced to dragon lifeskills such as flying, roaring and breathing fire Zog finds his efforts are a in vain as he ends up crashing whilst flying or making himself hoarse. Each year a little girl is on hand to bring him succour and patch up his wing or give him a peppermint to help his throat. Just as you, the reader, are thinking that the little girl is a bit of doormat, comes the day in Year 4 when the dragons are asked to catch a princess - and it turns out that the little girl is one Princess Pearl who is happy to be captured by Zog and to look after the dragons. Will she turn out to be a traditional Princess who is happy to be rescued by a Prince? Or might she have her own plans and be a modern Princess with a plan? There's a twist to this tale which I won't reveal here but which will see things take a surprising turn and show that not all Princesses like pink and frills and for one Dragon and a Princess the perfect ending might just be in sight....
In some ways this book is a little formulaic, it sees Donaldson back on familiar territory after a bit of a change in the recently released "the Troll" - here the story ambles along in comfortable rhyming prose, just perfect for bedtime story reading. There's plenty to discuss on each page too, the beautifully line-drawn pictures are full of detail not necessarily in the narrative itself but providing great opportunities for discussion, so a heron fishes for his supper, a fox peers from behind a tree - there are plenty of things to count or point at, and each page only has a few lines on it so the story progresses at satisfactory pace. The rhymes may not be quite as strong or memorable as those in "Stickman" or "The Gruffalo" but they are still easy to read and have touches of gentle humour that both adults and children will enjoy and kudos has to be given to the author for finding a word to rhyme with "Zog" that doesn't seem over-contrived (it's "agog" if you are wondering). The ending ties things up nicely and Zog works well as a character as too does the feisty Princess Pearl - as a mum of girls it's quite nice to read a book with a strong female character who knows her own mind for a change, and this modern Royal is a definite improvement on Princesses in those discarded Fairy Tales who always seemed slightly wimpy to me - waiting around for their Prince to awake them from their 100 years of slumber or recognise them from their lost shoe.
This book, in any case, is a firm favourite in this house and you could tell it was a winner from the first time that we read it. I should think it is most suited for the 2-6 year old market, and it's a worthy addition to any Donaldson collection. I'm not sure that it quite will be learned off by heart here as much as some of the other books, but it's enjoyed nonetheless. We have the hardback version of this book which seems to be widely available from the usual sellers on line and on the High Street. This would make a good gift or addition to even the most bulging story shelf for anyone, young or old that enjoys the daily ritual of a bedtime story because, ultimately, whether it's new or old there's nothing that finishes off the day quite as well as a good story is there?
My daughter has always loved Julia Donaldson books ever since she first discovered The Gruffalo at the age of about two. Since then, our collection of books has grown and grown, and we have grown to love many of Julia Donaldson's creations, especially the ones that are so brilliantly illustrated by Axel Scheffler. One of our newest favourites is Zog, an enthusiastic young dragon who is trying to do his best whilst studying at Dragon School.
Like most of Julia Donaldson's stories, Zog is written entirely in rhyming couplets which provide a lovely flow and rhythm to the story telling. At the start of the book, we meet Zog who is a Year 1 pupil at the school run by Madame Dragon. At this stage, all the dragons are learning how to fly and, although Zog is extremely keen, he is a bit clumsy and ends up crashing into a tree in a very ungainly fashion! Luckily, at that moment, a small girl comes by with sticking plaster in hand ready to patch him up before Zog sets off on his way.
During the following years, Zog learns to roar but gets a sore throat and he blows fire but sets his wings alight. Each time the young girl is there with medicine and bandages to help make him feel better. In Y4, he has to learn how to capture a princess. He thinks he will never get the hang of this. That is until the little girl appears again, announcing that she is in fact a princess, and he can capture her if he wants. Pearl, the princess, then stays at the school with Zog and enjoys practising her first aid on all the dragons. Everything is idyllic until a real knight turns up to rescue Pearl even though she does not want to be rescued! What will happen in the end? There I only one way to find out and that is to find a small child to share this thoroughly entertaining book with and to read to the very end!
This quirky colourful story is absolutely delightful and I am sure that most children will fall in love with this wonderful new character from Julia Donaldson. Her storytelling is enhanced by her excellent use of rhyming couplets which provide a great rhythm and bounce to the narration. She uses brilliant vocabulary too and the following example is an example of these elements. This is when Zog is learning how to fly:
"Now that you've been shown you can practice on your own
And you'll all be expert fliers by the time you're fully grown."
Zog went off to practise, flying fast and free.
He soared and swooped and looped the loop... then crashed into a tree.
The way the story is written is most enjoyable. There are some tricky longer words that might make it difficult for younger readers but I don't think I would worry too much about that as I feel that this is definitely a book made for sharing and one that both parents and children will enjoy together.
Axel Schefflers are also superb as usual and his style will be very familiar for fans of The Gruffalo, Stickman, etc. There is lots of detail on every page and each illustration is worth spending some time taking it all in.
Overall both my daughters really love this brilliant book and this bright new character. It is engaging and quirky and will be one to be read over and over again.
The hardcover that was published in August 2010 is currently available on Amazon for £5.99 (March 2011).
After I had just had a fortnight of reading nothing but Topsy and Tim books I was delighted when I picked up a copy of Zog the new book by Julia Donaldson who is most known for her other children's book, the Gruffalo. I was actually surprised to see it as it was only published on 3rd August 2010and immediately planned to take it home and see if it measured up to the previous books. I showed the book to my son and while the characters are different the style of drawing is very familiar to the Gruffalo and the fact this book was about dragons it was a definite yes from my son.
The book as a new release is currently only available in hardback. The pages are very high quality paper and seem like a book that will last even with a little rough treatment.
The story is of a young dragon called Zog that progresses through the school years with the same teacher Madame Dragon. He is taught various skills through the years. In his first year he is taught to fly. Zog is a keen student who has his heart set on winning a gold star. Sadly as hard as he tries him always seems to end up having an accident. In year one when he is practising his flying he crashes into a tree. Luckily a young girl comes to his aid and sticks a plaster on his nose. In year two he learned how to roar and practised so hard he got a sore throat and the following year he learned to breath fire but set fire to his wings. On each occasion he is helped by the same young girl. In his fourth year he is taught how to capture a princess and when he fails he feels down but it turns out the young girl who has been helping him each time he lands in trouble is a princess and offers to be captured. When Zog wins a golden star he is delighted. The princess also enjoys her time living with the dragons and practising her nursing skills. In his final year he is taught how to fight and when a brave knight comes to recue Princess pearl Zog is ready to fight until she informs them she doesn't want a fight or to be a princess. She wants to help the sick with the support of the knight and Zog they create a team called the flying doctors and set off to heal the sick around the world.
The illustrations for this book are by Axel Scheffler who also illustrated the Gruffalo so it is not surprising this book is in a similar style. The six dragons in Madame Dragons class all have a realistic dragon image but also a face which emulates a friendly and cheerful dragon. Each dragon is a different colour and slightly different .Zog is an orange dragon with a single horn in the middle of his head. Each page is filled with colour and the pictures do tell the story independently .I does think that someone who was unable to read would be able to follow the story which is ideal for children's books. There are very tiny details that mean each time you read the story you see something new. The illustrations are very linear as my son has an amazing ability to notice and slight differences and inaccuracies from one drawing to the next which can be very difficult to explain.
Once we got home my son picked Zog out of the pile as the first book he wanted to read from out collection and I was also secretly pleased.
I personally love this book. It is in poetry with a repetitive theme that flows through the book. The language is ideal for this age group. M son loves dragons and it discusses the traits of a dragon without viewing them as unfeeling. The story does teach a child that they need to practise at something to succeed. It does look at dragons in a realistic manner but also teaches humility.
My son loves to listen to this book, while it does have a rhythmic flow he will at times simply listen to the book but usually has a million questions about the book. His most amusing question was when I mentioned Madame Dragon he asked "why is she mad?" He is highly amused when Zog crashes into the tree. He will also pretend to be a fireman to put out the fire on Zog's wing. He does want to know the name of all the other dragons which are not names but not necessarily relevant in the story. I have simply asked him to name them so they now tend to be named after his friends. This is one book my son does love and we both enjoy reading together.
How does it compare to The Gruffalo?
I do find when an Author writes and Amazing children's book it is not always the case they are able to write any further books simply they have wrote the children's book within them. I am happy to say that I do think this book is an equally brilliant book that I do think will be loved by parents and children.
This book has a RRP of £10.99 which I do consider to be very high cost for a children's book but it is available on Amazon currently for £5.00 with free postage and packaging
I do recommend this book for young children. My three years old loves Zog but l also do believe that it is complex enough to be enjoyed by older children. If your child loves the Gruffalo I do believe they will love this one too.