In “a land afar,” we meet a group of dragons, each with his or her own very special feature and ability. They all assemble on one special day of the year to compete in the fire breathing games, where each dragon’s capacity for fire breathing is assessed. Zagonk, a purple dragon who has never competed before, is dismayed when his turn to compete comes and only a loud honking noise, not fire, comes out. The subject of ridicule by the other competitor dragons, Zagonk slinks off and runs into The Frost Giant, who has crashed the fire breathing games in order to freeze the assembled dragons and carry them away with him and declare himself the winner of the dragon games.
In a panic, Zagonk tries to breathe fire to melt the ice he’s encased in but is able to produce nothing but the ridiculous honk that made him a laughing stock earlier. As he keeps honking, though, he notices that the vibrations from the noise he’s making are cracking the ice and soon Zagonk not only escapes from his own ice confinement, but manages to free the other dragons and send The Frost Giant packing.
Author Pat Hatt uses simple but clever rhymes to tell this charming story of accepting who you are and seeing the value in the strengths you have, rather than bemoaning the ones you don’t. This book would be a wonderful opening for adults to talk to the children in their lives about accepting each other’s’ differences, making the most out of what you have and self-esteem. The elaborate and richly colored illustrations in this book will fascinate younger kids, as will the various dragons, the menacing Frost Giant and the story of perseverance in the face of adversity.