by Jahcolyn Russell Neiman
Release Date: January 2011
format available: paperback
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Back of Book
When a baby girl is born with the distinguishing mark of the zebra, the Wise-Mother attending the birth remembers an ancient legend foretelling this event. She tells the parents the legend warns that the girl will be stolen from her people in her fourteenth year and is to be watched at all times.
But all their watchfulness still does not prevent her being taken from them. Their only hope is that the legend also states that one who bears the same mark of the zebra can save her and bring her back to them.
I read this soon after getting it but haven't reviewed it yet. If I remember correctly that while it looks like a children's book, it is not. The print is too small and there are too many words for the format the book came in.
I remember it being like a campfire or bedtime story. Something that could be dramatized or read over several days to draw out the suspense.
Let's see if I'm right . . . .
The book starts in a village with children playing. Someone asks "Grandmother" for a story and this is it. Most of the time, the children and the storyteller are not part of the book. The story moves along nicely and I like the illustrations. The do give it a picture book feel to the story so you could paraphrase while the kids look at the pictures until they can enjoy more of the story.
The story is that a baby girl was born with "the mark of the zebra" and on her 14th birthday would be stolen from the village. Kekula wouldn't stay in one place for long and on one of her walks with Wise-Mother she protects a zebra foal from a lioness. As the zebra grows up, she stays with Kekula and even allows her to ride her.
Kekula, Wise-Mother, and the zebra continue to wander with Wise-Mother leading the way. Kekula took another path, after all, she's 14 and old enough to make her own choices. After so long, Wise-Mother is losing her eyesight and doesn't notice that they take a path she had avoided before. Kekula and Wise-Mother are both kidnapped.
Yes the new tribe has a boy with "the mark of the zebra". He had also befriended a zebra.
Yes there is a happy ending. Yes there are a couple of twists. The only 8-year-olds I know to try the book on don't sit still for long enough to read to them. I enjoyed reading the story and would love to be a student in the author's classroom where she frequently makes up stories.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary review copy of this book without any obligation to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are mine and may differ from yours. Book information courtesy of the the book itself, the author and amazon.
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