Julius Zebra by Gary Northfield Book Review

Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: April 12, 2016

Julius Zebra lives the life of a normal young zebra, fighting with his brother and being a bit picky about where he drinks his water. Who can blame him either? The local watering hole is full of alligators and stinks. When Julius tries to sneak away though, he ends up as a prisoner of Romans whose mission is to bring exotic animals back from Africa to be part of the games at the Colosseum. At first, Julius is excited thinking they are headed to some kind of circus to see juggling monkeys. He quickly learns that this is no circus, there are gladiators and they are intent on killing Julius and all of his new animal friends. Julius isn't going to go out without a fight and soon finds himself a crowd favorite and in training to become a real gladiator.

The premise: Ridiculous. The execution: Hilarious. Julius Zebra is
the perfect hero in this utterly preposterous adventure about a Gladiotar Zebra. Julius is the kind of animal that kids can relate to. He's a picky eater, can't stand his attention-seeking brother, and just wants to some freedom. Couple that with a rather dower and dier lion and a know-it-all warthog and this is a recipe for fun. I loved the little tid-bits of history and Latin terms mixed in with the absurd notion that a zebra could ever hold a sword, let alone fight. And let's not even talk about how the animals manage to blend in for a bit by wearing hats and mustaches. The illustrations are great and really add a comic book quality to the story. Kids are going to love this irreverent animal adventure and they may actually learn something in the process. Added bonus for the page numbers being in Roman Numerals and including a guide on how to read them in the back.