AYER -- As Pumpernickel Puppets, John McDonough recently delighted Page Hilltop Elementary School preschool and pre-K students with his version of "Sir George and the Dragon."

Unlike the legend of "St. George and the Dragon," the dragon in the puppet show does not harm anyone, and eats pickles, not people.

When the adventurous Princess Melody sets off to find a dragon, she eventually befriends the gloriously green Seymour Scales. They become fast friends; however, thinking the princess is in danger, Sir George and his canine companion come to the rescue. The rest of the story includes a battle scene and a happily-ever-after, much to the delight of many 3- and 4-year-olds.

After the performance, McDonough, who provided all of the puppetry and voices for the show, brought out his puppets and showed the children how they worked. He also introduced them to some new friends, including the roller-skating alien Cosmos, and a large dancing bird named Twyla Tweet.

McDonough also asked two children, Maria Oliveira and Evan Gibbons, to help him show off a puppet made from everyday household materials.

Director of the Ayer Childcare Program Russell said that she would like to thank the Cultural Council for funding the event, which provided a fun and, at times, hilarious lesson in why it is important not to judge a book by its cover.