Zoe the Zebra (Get Well Friends) by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan
|Zoe the Zebra (Get Well Friends) by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Kerry King|
|Summary: Zoe is a Zebra living in Africa and she is so busy looking out for big, scary animals that she doesn't look where she is going and trips up! But don't worry, with a little help from Nurse Nibbles and her Get Well Friends, she'll soon be feeling better.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 32||Date: October 2011|
It was a beautiful day in Africa. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and all the zebras were peacefully eating their lunch. All except for Zoe who is so busy looking out for big, scary animals that she isn't looking where she is going and trips up over a teeny-tiny tortoise! However, Nurse Nibbles is on hand and with the Get Well Friends it seems that Zoe will soon be on the mend.
Most children I've met seem to love to dress up as a doctor or a nurse and tend to you with their pretend doctors' bag or nurses' first aid kit, and my 4 year old is no exception so on the face of it I thought the whole Get Well Friends stories would appeal hugely and I was right that some of them, in fact, do just that. However, I appear to have misjudged this particular story on the basis that Zoe is at the bottom of the Serengeti Food Chain and as such, is basically lunch for many of the big, scary animals that also inhabit the African plain. And so upon reading, there was a huge emphasis (albeit as part of the story to show how Zoe was distracted and therefore not looking where she was going) on said big, scary animals who were clearly trying to make Zoe their next meal.
Since Zoe is so patently aware of the dangerous place in which she lives it rather detracts from the lovely, nurturing aspect of the tale in which she injures herself and is cared for by her Get Well Friends. Rather this imperative facet becomes a sidebar. Probably not what the author had in mind!
In our house, we are trying to introduce nature and wildlife to our child as a non-terrifying experience and placing emphasis on animals that eat other animals as part of life's rich tapestry as opposed to lions - for instance - being creatures that could potentially be hiding in the wardrobe because they just want to eat you (we had this conversation at some length just prior to bedtime even though I had the presence of mind to read the story to my child some 4 hours earlier, based on the scary nature of the protagonist's neighbours).
So to summarise, I personally can't recommend this particular book in the series of Get Well Friends, though there are others that fare considerably better, for instance Pedro the Penguin (which we have also reviewed for you here at Bookbag) purely by virtue of the fact that it does not achieve what it set out to. I think my 4 year old got the message - i.e. that you should always pay attention to what you are doing and look where you are going in case you fall and injure yourself - but it was somewhat overshadowed by the big, scary animals.
For further reading, I would suggest, as mentioned above, that you give this author another chance and take a look at Pedro the Penguin or alternatively, you might want to check out the real wildlife in The Day The Gogglynipper Escaped by James McKnight and Mark Chambers.
Lastly, we would very much like to thank the kind ladies and gents at Hodder Children's Books for sending us this copy to review.
You can read more book reviews or buy Zoe the Zebra (Get Well Friends) by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Zoe the Zebra (Get Well Friends) by Kes Gray and Mary McQuillan at Amazon.com.
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