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OZZIE & PRINCE ZEBEDEE by Gela Kalaitzidis


by Gela Kalaitzidis ; illustrated by Gela Kalaitzidis

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 2022
ISBN: 978-0-593-46418-2
Publisher: Flamingo Books

The friendship of a dragon and a boy is tested by an act of anger.

Ozzie, a big green dragon, and Prince Zebedee, a tan-skinned boy with curly dark hair, are great friends who “made beautiful music together” and “kept each other’s feet warm” cuddling at night. But a card game at the edge of a forest creates a rift in the relationship when the prince accuses Ozzie of cheating. Ozzie, angered, eats the prince. The prince is safely, stubbornly inside the dragon’s huge belly, but he still refuses to speak to Ozzie. Ozzie, saddened, eats up chunks of a village, because “sometimes when dragons are lonely, they make bad choices.” Of course, the two eventually reconcile; the town and Ozzie are regurgitated but not before both friends learn a little about anger management and forgiveness. Digital artist Kalaitzidis’ debut picture book is most notable for the expressiveness of its characters. Whether they are furious or blissfully at play, Ozzie and Zebedee make a charming pair against detail-filled, clever backgrounds. An older, tan-skinned character seen knitting in the backgrounds of many pages, for instance, appears to be Kalaitzidis herself, judging from the cover-flap author picture. While the text never quite soars, the illustrations and the overall story feel true and relatable even if most friends don’t eat each other. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A fun pair of characters and a good friendship lesson make for a worthy dragon tale.

(Picture book. 3-7)