Book review: Zog and the Flying Doctors, by Julia Donaldson, illustrations by Axel Scheffler

Donaldson, Julia. Zog and the Flying Doctors. Illustrations by Axel Scheffler. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-338-13417-9. 32 pgs. Ages 3-9. P9 Q9

A beautifully written and illustrated book from the creators of A Gold Star for Zog, and Superworm, Zog and the Flying Doctors is another sure to be hit. The story follows a young princess who is a doctor, a knight who is a surgeon, and a dragon who is wonderful at flying (but hasn’t yet perfected landing) on their adventures. Unfortunately when they stop to say hello to her Uncle, the King, he informs her that Princesses aren’t meant to be Doctors and locks her in the tower. Not content to spend her days sewing and wearing “frilly dresses” she sets out to prove to the King that Princesses can be anything!

Verdict: This book does a great job delivering a message in a fun way. The rhyming text and fun illustrations make it a quick and enjoyable read. It would be a wonderful read-aloud. I gave it a 9 for Popularity because it will engage readers for different reasons. Any child interested in knights, dragons, and princesses will enjoy it. Also, this would be a great book for a child who feels they aren’t accepted for who they are. The rhyming makes it an easy read and the humor is a plus as well. I found myself smiling as I read it more than once because it is such an engaging book. The rating of 9 for quality is due to the detailed illustrations as well as the placement of the text. Though the text was around the pictures I never felt as though I was searching for the words or missing any of them. I am excited to buy this book to add to my kids’ collection as well as reading it in the library during story time.

November 2017 review by Michelle Cottrell


Book review: The Scarecrows’ Wedding, by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Donaldson, Julia and Axel Scheffler. The Scarecrows’ Wedding. Arthur A. Levine Books. 2014 ISBN 9780545726061. unp. Ages pre-school. P9/q8

Donaldson Scarecrows WeddingI like this funny story about a wedding for two scarecrows, Harry and Betty. They make a list and go searching for everything they need for their wedding. Harry goes searching for flowers and ends up being gone for a day as he had to follow a slow snail to a pail. The fun thing is that some of the words rhyme and have a great rhythm so this would be a good read aloud story for a classroom story time. When Harry is gone the farmer makes a new wild scarecrow to take his place that even lights a cigar and almost burns Betty. But Harry returns in the nick of time with a pail of water and uses it to put out the fire. Of course they are able to get married the next day because they have everything on their list and have a happy ending. This is a good story about wild reckless behavior like smoking and fire and will make for lots of conversation with students. The end papers have fun pictures of some of the characters and items from the story. January 2015 review by Melinda Dye.

Book review: Superworm

Donaldson, Julia. Superworm. Illustrated by Axel Scheffier. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780545591768. Unp. Ages pre-school. P8/Q8

This is a fanciful story of a Superworm who is captured by a magical lizard who makes the worm look for treasure. Finally the other animals came to his rescue and capture the lizard in a web and drop him in the dump. In the end the Superworm is returned to his friends to do wonderful things. The story is written in as poetry in a rhyming format that will make it a joy to read for classroom story time.

October 2014 review by Melinda Dye.

Book review: The Scarecrows’ Wedding

Donaldson, Julia and Scheffler, Axel: The Scarecrows’ Wedding. The storyline shows two scarecrows preparing for their wedding. Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay love each other dearly and set about preparing for their wedding. While Harry is out collecting flowers, the farmer notices his absence and makes another scarecrow to take his place. Reginald Rake’s lines include: “I must be the cleverest scarecrow alive / I can sing lots of songs. I can dance, I can drive! / I’m dashing! I’m daring! I’m cool as can be! / I can even blow smoke rings – just watch me and see!” Betty says “smoking is bad for you” and Rake goes on to cough on the cigar smoke before accidentally setting the hay on fire. This scene in the story has taken a lot of heat from parents who question smoking in a book for this age group. The story ends happily with the return of Harry O’Hay with not only the flowers but a bucket of water too. He extinguishes the fire and saves his bride.

*** Good book; colorful pictures with a playful rhyming words. Grade Level: Preschool – 3

October 2014 review by Penny McDermott.

Book review: Superworm

Donaldson, Julia. Axel Scheffler, ill. Superworm. Arthur A. Levine, 2012. $16.99. ISBN 9780545591768. Unp. Ages 4-8. P9Q8.

I found everything about this book very entertaining: from the cute endpapers to the colorful, funny illustrations (check out the bored bees) to the easy-to-read rhyming language. The book tells us about Superworm and his super-wormy powers. A wizard puts a spell on him and forces him to work underground to find treasure, but Superworm’s friends come to the rescue and free him. I think this book will be a popular request at storytime!  Summer 2014 review by C.S.