Sunday, April 22, 2012

Zippy and the Stripes of Courage

For those who look or feel different than everybody else, author Candida Sullivan offers an encouraging story about a zebra without stripes. The book, Zippy and the Stripes of Courage, starts in Zippy’s home. He wants to play with the other zebras but he is afraid to join them because he doesn’t look like they do. He feels uncomfortable and ashamed when other animals stare at him or tease him about his appearance.
One day, Zippy comes across a group of young zebras. They fear him, thinking he’s a ghost, but when Zippy explains his condition, they invite him to play. All is well until the group decides to head to a dangerous part of the Grassy Plains. The zebras think that the one with the widest stripes is the bravest, so they follow a striped leader across a murky stream. Zippy doesn’t follow. At once, his new friends make fun of him, causing Zippy to question why God made him different.
The zebras don’t laugh long… hyenas and hungry crocodiles attack them. They beg Zippy to help them escape. At first, Zippy refuses until a wise owl reminds him that “we are supposed to treat others how we want to be treated, not how they’ve treated us” and tells him that “true bravery is doing the right thing even when you’re scared.”
Thinking fast, Zippy pretends to be a ghost and frightens the hyenas away. Then, inspired by Zippy’s bravery, the hungry crocodiles allow the group to pass to safety. The story ends with Zippy being accepted for who he is… a zebra without stripes.
The illustrations, done by Jack Foster, are simple, bright, cartoony, and kid-friendly. For the most part, every two-page spread in the book is set up to show text on side and the illustration on the other.
At the end of the book, Dr. Rick Metrick (a Licensed Professional Counselor) offers discussion suggestions which help parents and therapists use the book “as a springboard to help physically deformed children face, accept, and overcome their individual struggles.” The topics contain Scripture references as well. In addition, Sullivan provides information about Amniotic Band Syndrome, a condition she lived through.
What I Like: For me, the discussion suggestions were the best part of the story because they help make the book a useful tool for working with children who ask, “Why me?” Plus the illustrations were cute. Though geared for children with deformities, I suspect the story would encourage any child who feels like a misfit.
What I Dislike: Nothing. It was a good story to read, but not a must-have story on my list.
Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: None given, but I suggest preschool- grade 1.
Publisher Info: ShadeTree Publishing, 2011; ISBN:978-1937331085; Paperback, 42 pgs., $13.99.
This book is not available at
Buy it at for $10.07
OR buy the KINDLE version for $5.99.
Special Info: Check out Candida’s book Underneath the Scars or the Kindle version. It’s geared for adults or parents of affected children about how she overcame challenges related to Amniotic Band Syndrome at . Also, here are some of my favorite mainstream books on the topic of being/feeling different that readers might find helpful: Tacky the Penguin, Al, the Spotted Zebra, and Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon.

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