Abracazebra by Helen Docherty; illustrated by Thomas Docherty (2015)

[Published by Alison Green Books] 

abracazebraIn a battle between a zebra with a back-catalogue of magic tricks and a grumpy old goat, it’s hard to imagine the goat coming out as the victor. But in today’s clever picture book that’s sort of exactly what happens.

In the sleepy town of Yawnalot, the only source of entertainment is old Goat who regularly patches the holes on his fishing boat. This changes when a stranger arrives on a be-flowered bicycle, towing a caravan of excitement. All of a sudden the town is transformed by “The Abracazebra Magic Show”. From creating gigantic beanstalks to unleashing clouds of fluttering butterflies, this is a zebra with some mad skills. The only animal not having a great time is old Goat, “They think she’s clever, with all her tricks, But I’ve got important things to fix!”2015-02-21 12.25.46

When it looks like Abracazebra might make Yawnalot her permanent home, Goat starts a smear campaign, suggesting quietly to her neighbours that animals with stripes can not be trusted. It culminates in a sign appearing, “NO STRIPES ALLOWED”. Not surprisingly in the middle of the night Abracazebra packs up and leaves.

In good news, this is followed by major Goat-angst, a high-speed boat chase and much grovelling of a haedine variety. Magical good-times are returned to Yawnalot, “Now Yawnalot is a happier place, Where they welcome any kind of face.”

Each page in this wonderful book is overflowing with lovely illustrative detail. Who knew a zebra could look so forlorn? The rhyming text is a pleasure to read out-loud and the message of acceptance lends itself to all sorts of interesting conversations. An excellent choice with which to celebrate the Year of the Goat.

Check out Abracazebra at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy Abracazebra from Fishpond.

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