Title: The Story of Zen the Zebra
Author: William Tellem
Illustrator: Robert Nailon
Publisher: SwordPen Publishers
“I’m not in-fear-of anything in the world – and I’m certainly not less than any of you,” Zen declares in William Tellem’s children’s book, The Story of Zen the Zebra.
~ What ~
This thirty-page over-sized paperback targets children ages three to eight years old who like reading about zebras while also understanding the issue of racism and inferiority. With brightly colored illustrations on most of the pages, the few scenes with teeth-baring, drooling animals are not too frightening.
This short tale is about an outspoken zebra named Zen who loves to run. After outrunning lions, cheetahs, and a crocodile, he takes a two-day trip to meet new zebras. However, when he tries to be friendly to them, they ignore him, stating he is different than they are. Zen challenges them to a race, beating them easily. At the end, the zebras apologize to Zen and ask him to teach them how to run fast.
~ Why ~
I enjoy books that teach young ones not to judge others by looks or to state they are inferior. By promoting the harmony of “black and white” stripes being the same as “white and black” stripes, the book shows that differences are similar and should be accepted. I like that there is enough detail in the illustrations to keep a young one engaged.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that focus on racism and how to overcome it may not be interested in this read. With cheetahs and lions commonly noted to be faster than zebras, the story may erroneously teach children incorrectly about animals’ speed, but it is a fictitious tale of a special fast-running zebra.
~ Wish ~
While I appreciate the concept of racism discussed in this book about zebras seeing differences in their kind, I wish it did not include Zen taunting the other animals as, no doubt, they would have caught and eaten him if this was the real world.
~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s story about accepting others even if they are different, this would be a thoughtful gift.
Thanks to the SwordPen Publishing for offering this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.
GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.