Title: Abracazebra | Author: Helen Docherty | Illustrator: Thomas Docherty | Publication Date: February 5, 2015 | Publisher: Scholastic Press | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8 | Reviewed by: Renee and Dominic (Mother and Son)
Summary: Yawnalot is a sleepy old town until Abracazebra rides in on her bicycle. Suddenly, all the animals flock to see her incredible magic show – all except Goat, who is grumpy and jealous of her. But in the end, even Goat is won over and realises that everybody needs a little magic. A wonderfully original new picture book about the importance of celebrating diversity, by the internationally award-winning creators of THE SNATCHABOOK
My Thoughts: Yawnalot is a sleepy town with not much to do except watch old Goat mending his fishing boat. But that all changes when the mysterious Abracazebra rolls into town and delights young and old with her amazing magic show day after day. With the attention now shifted away from him, Goat finds himself feeling jealous that the animals have become enamored with Abracazebra welcoming her in their town with open arms.
In a plot to rid the town of Abracazebra, Goat convinces everyone that animals with stripes cannot be trusted and stripes become banned in the town. With a heavy heart, Abracazebra is forced to leave the town that she has grown to love. Old Goat quickly realizes the mistake of his ways, but will it be too late to find Abracazebra and convince her to return?
Abracazebra is wonderful rhyming picture book with an important underlying message about jealousy and the consequences of acting out of jealousy. When the townspeople show enthusiasm toward Abracazebra and her magic show, Goat feels left out and begins to feel jealous of the attention the zebra is receiving. I immediately thought of how a child would feel when a new baby comes into a household and they are showered with attention leaving that child feeling rejected and alone. While feelings of jealousy are certainly normal, the message in the book is that sometimes people act on those feelings inappropriately hurting others around them.
The old Goat quickly perceived that convincing the other animals that stripes are bad was the wrong thing to do. Goat’s actions hurt Abracazebra who was forced to leave the town; the animals who were sad that their new friend left; and himself as he experienced feelings of guilt around his deceit. Goat then models the appropriate behavior by taking responsibility for his actions, tracking down Abracazebra, apologizing for his behavior, asking the zebra to return. All in all, the story contains many important life lessons around jealousy, deceit, and taking responsibility for your actions.
The illustrations featured in the story are absolutely gorgeous and are filled with magic and whimsy. The book features a number of detailed full page illustrations as well as smaller ones scattered throughout the book. Kids will enjoy leafing through the book, examining the pictures spotting the many, many details. We all delighted in the illustrations.
My Bottom Line: Abracazebra is a delightful rhyming picture book featuring a fun collection of animal characters, whimsical illustrations, and important underlying messages about jealousy and celebrating diversity. This book would make a great read-aloud book in an early elementary classroom or library circle and I highly recommend it to children ages 4 to 8.
* This book was provided to me through the Book Depository Book Review Programme free-of-charge in exchange for our honest reviews. All opinions expressed are our own. *
You can download an Abracazebra “Spot the Difference” Activity Sheet by clicking the image below.
You can also download an Abracazebra coloring page by clicking the image below.
You can also make your own Abracazebra mask by clicking the image below.
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