Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

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Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: The keenest dragon in the school finds the tricks of his trade more difficult than he thought, but help is at hand. Superbly workmanlike production from the prolific Donaldson/Scheffler team.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 30 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Alison Green Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978 1407132334

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We are devotees of the Gruffalo. We have books, noisy books, costumes, jigsaws, sleepsuits and green nail polish. We have scoured coppices for Gruffalo-shaped twigs and bakers’ shops for Gruffalo birthday cakes. We have done the Gruffalo, if not to death, but to the shallow depths of my granddaughter’s infant imagination. We love the Gruffalo for his unique and appealing simplicity, and because he is the most wonderful debunker of monster-fear ever invented.

When I saw Zog in this board book edition, he looked, frankly, from the same stable as the Gruffalo. Was this just more of the same? Trepidation surfaced, for isn’t novelty the lifeblood of children’s books?

Fortunately author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Alex Scheffler have pulled off a completely different coup. This time they cut through the bread and butter of fairy tales – dragons, castles, knights in shining armour and princesses – to debunk the stereotypes, cantering along in jaunty rhyming couplets.

Zog is a pupil in school, where he has to learn all the usual skills of fully-functioning dragons. When he bangs his head against a tree during flying practice, a Heidi-like appears with her doctor’s kit. And it just turns out … a sophisticated enough story for the most fairy-taled out adult, with three spunky main characters guaranteed to appeal to children over about four years. I doubt if many children under that age will get the story line, though there’s plenty of other interest in the verse and pictures to keep younger brothers and sisters happy. That makes Zog a great treat for children who know and love The Gruffalo, when they are slightly older.

As always, there’s a myriad of detail in Alex Scheffler’s illustrations, which keeps the conversation flowing even when the book is very familiar to both adult and child.

Alison Green Books have now published a range of Zog editions, including a paperback version with Imelda Staunton reading the story on CD. My slight problem with the boardbook edition was the small font size, particularly on pages where the words weren’t set against a white background. I think that adults sitting with a group of children might struggle to read it at a distance, from the side or upside down (as you do) and show the pictures to the children at the same time.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book and assure them that this copy of Zog will go to a very loving home.

Another favourite is the witchy tale Room On The Broom which can be purchased with Josie Lawrence reading the story. You might also like to check out the other Bookbag Reviews and of course, ww.gruffalo.com gives a comprehensive list of other titles from Donaldson and Scheffler.

Buy Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zog by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler at Amazon.com.


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