Title: Sloth the Lazy Dragon
Author: Regan W.H. Macaulay
Illustrator: Alex Zgud
Publisher/Year: Guardian Angel Publishing/2016
Back Cover Blurb: Sloth is a lazy and overweight dragon taking up space atop a hoard of gold and jewels within a mountain inhabited by dwarves. One dwarf helps Sloth lose weight through diet and exercise. The grateful dragon, now able to fly, leaves the dwarf and his people a special gift.
Radish the dwarf bravely and cautiously enters the cave where Sloth the fire-breathing dragon resides, surrounded by mounds of gold and precious gems. Radish is hopeful that Sloth won’t eat him and offers to help the portly dragon lose weight. Sloth is skeptical at first, wondering why the little fellow, so small he’s “hardly a mouthful”, would want to help him. But he’s keen to get in shape, so he accepts Radish’s offer. After three years of exercising and eating healthy, Sloth is ready to fly again.
Being a dragon fan, I was immediately drawn to this book. When I was much younger, I collected dragon figurines, along with other mythical creatures, such as winged horses and unicorns. Lore that features these fantastical beings continues to fascinate me.
What I like most about Sloth the Lazy Dragon is that it’s not your typical “knight defeats evil dragon and rescues the princess and all the townsfolk” kind of story. Instead, we meet a chunky, overweight, can-barely-move dragon and a little dwarf who is willing to put his fear aside and help him. There’s no damsel in distress, but rather, a suffering dragon. There’s no weapon-wielding, white-horse-riding hero, but rather, a tiny man with a beard and a pointy cap…and oh yah, some free weights.
Through a clever story told with a captivating voice and filled with interesting words, like diminutive, atrophied, and dirigible, as well as enchanting and fun illustrations, this book, oh so subtly, relays the message that being active and eating nutritious foods is important for your health. Kids will eat this story up, no pun intended, because it will capture their imaginations.
“Why do you not fly outside the mountain?” the dwarf asked anxiously.
“Use your eyes, little man,” the dragon snorted. “Can you not see my girth?”