'Zog's' message to work hard gets lost in silliness

A GOLD STAR FOR ZOG. By Julia Donaldson. Illustrated by Axel Scheffler. For ages 4-8.

When students excel in their studies, Madam Dragon gives them a gold star. Zog wants a gold star more than anything. So when this young dragon begins to study flight, roaring and breathing fire, he gives it everything he has. But it never goes quite right.

That is when a mysterious girl always seems to show up and take care of poor Zog. It’s not until his class for princess capturing comes around that Zog finally gets his gold star. He finds the mysterious little girl and she accompanies him back to see Madam Dragon. Hurray! Zog gets his gold star.

It’s at this point that the story seems to fall apart. A brave knight comes to rescue the princess, but he really wants to be a doctor.

Really? The idea for this tale is that if you are true to yourself and try hard, you will be successful. It’s a good message for all children, but it may get lost in the silliness.

McGeath Freeman reviews children’s books for Lowcountry Parent magazine. To see previous reviews, go to www.lowcountryparent.com.