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Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite
The Lonely Zebra: Standing Up and Using Your Voice to Help Others, written by C.M. Harris and illustrated by Ashlynn Feather, tells of a zebra called Zola who misses her zebra friend, Zach, when he moves away. She would love to join her friends at the watering hole but is scared to do so because Hank the hyena laughs at her and says nasty things about her. However, one day Zola meets a beautiful black swan who is willing to stand up for her, and the whole situation changes. Harris, whose mission is to write books to motivate and inspire children, has already written several other children’s books that have proven to be very popular, including What if We Were All the Same! and Just Because... Ashlynn Feather, who has more than a decade’s experience of illustrating children’s books, especially enjoys portraying animals in their natural habitat.
The key message of The Lonely Zebra is that tolerating each other’s differences only truly comes from our getting to know and understand one another, which, in turn, can only come from freely communicating our fears and desires. What seems like something odd in another being can, ultimately, become the reason for our growing to like and appreciate them, but only if we have insight into our own motivation. C.M. Harris’s heartening words and Ashlynn Feather’s full-color illustrations blend perfectly to convey the full significance of the message that The Lonely Zebra conveys. The different animals and birds are portrayed in such a fun way that any child should warm to the story from the very first page. This book is extremely worthwhile, not only for those who are subjected to bullying but also for the bullies themselves, who might come to understand the reasons behind their behavior, as well as for all children generally.