Zog and the Flying Doctors – Julia Donaldson

Illustrations – Axel Scheffler

Spoilers Ahead!

I was introduced to Zog when I borrowed the short film from the library. After watching it twice I finally read the book, and Zog became my new favourite dragon. Naturally I then ordered the sequel from the library and bought my own copy of the film so I could watch it to my heart’s content.

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this read and I’m so disappointed that I was disappointed by it. At the end of the first book, Princess Pearl, Gadabout the Great and Zog head off on a new adventure. This book begins with the Flying Doctors living the life of their dreams. Pearl is finally a doctor, Gadabout is performing surgery and Zog is flying them from patient to patient.

They tend to a sunburnt mermaid, a unicorn with an extra horn and a lion who’s got the flu. Everything was going well and I was along for the ride … until Pearl is imprisoned by her uncle because, “Princesses can’t be doctors, silly girl!” The men (Gadabout and Zog) are then charged with trying to save this damsel in distress. It isn’t until Pearl diagnoses her uncle’s illness and cures him that he decides it’s acceptable for a Princess to be a doctor. As if she needed his permission! Released from captivity, Princess Pearl and her two male saviours (who, incidentally, tried to save her but didn’t) go off on their merry way, smiling and waving to the man who imprisoned her.

Nope, sorry. That’s not a book I’d want to read again or put in front of a child. The first book? No hesitation. I still absolutely love it. I just wish I’d stopped there and imagined for myself the wonderful adventures that were to come for the Flying Doctors.

I loved the illustrations in this book; they’re the reason I’m giving this book 3 stars instead of 2.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Meet the Flying Doctors: Princess Pearl, Sir Gadabout and, of course, their trusty ‘air ambulance’, Zog the dragon, as they fly around the country, tending to a sunburnt mermaid, a distressed unicorn, and even a sneezy lion.

Zog – Julia Donaldson

Illustrations – Axel Scheffler

“What a good idea!”

I’d like to introduce you to my new favourite dragon, Zog.

He’s Madam Dragon’s most enthusiastic student and he desperately wants to earn one of his teacher’s golden stars.

Throughout the book Madam Dragon’s students learn all of the dragon basics, including flying, roaring and breathing fire.

“Now that you’ve been shown, you can practise on your own”

While Zog is practicing his new skills he encounters Pearl, a caring, friendly young girl. Throughout the years they continue to meet and become friends.

I usually try to read the book before I see the movie because the book is always better, right? This time was different. I was introduced to Zog and Pearl via the short film, and it was only as I was watching the Special Features that I realised Zog had books written about him long before he was animated.

I borrowed the DVD from my library, assuming I’d make it maybe 5 minutes before ditching it. This was not to be. I fell in love with this orange dragon! Then I introduced Mum to him and as we watched it together, she fell in love with him too. We plan to watch it at least another couple of times before my loan expires.

You can view the movie trailer here.

Naturally I followed up by borrowing the book from the library, which solidified my love for these characters. While I adore this book, I actually enjoyed the movie more. Shh!!! Don’t tell the book I said that.

What clearly came across to me in the movie was that while Zog and Pearl tried their best to live up to others’ expectations of them, they were denying who they really were. When they were honest with themselves and others about how they were feeling and what they truly wanted out of life, they were given the opportunity to fulfil their dreams.

It was obvious in the movie that Zog didn’t really fit in with the other dragons. Pearl’s story was also expanded so I gained more of an understanding of the role she was being trained to fill. I liked them in the book but their personalities came to life on screen and I was more focused on their friendship developing through the years. I smiled while I read but I laughed throughout the movie.

Now that I know of Zog’s existence I’m looking forward to going on more adventures with him. I’ve already ordered Zog and the Flying Doctors from the library so you’ll be hearing all about that just as soon as I can wrestle a copy from a child’s hands a copy becomes available.

I’m adding the movie to my list of DVD’s I absolutely must own. This is one of those stories that I would happily read/watch over and over, with or without a child.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Zog, a young accident-prone dragon, who wants to be the best student in dragon school, is the keenest dragon in the school, but will he ever win a golden star?