Annie is determined to paint an alphabet of animals. As animals clutching the initial letter of their name gather, she begins with Aardvark followed by Bear and Crocodile, before over eager Zebra tries to jump the queue. Politely, but firmly, she explains that 'Z comes at the end' and continues splashing paint around as she makes her way through the alphabet one animal at a time. Zebra continues his efforts to sneak in the line by adopting a number of disguises. When he becomes naughty and traps FoX in a box, Annie loses her cool and tells him off. At last, it's his turn, but Zebra is no where to be found...
'Not Yet, Zebra' is a delightful story told in bouncy, rhyming text which is full of humour. Zebra embodies that over enthusiastic child that we all know (and love!) who just cannot take wait and take their turn. Initially, Annie is gentle with him, amused by his antics, but as her frustration builds, her body language changes and she snaps at him. When Zebra can't be found, she is concerned that she has hurt his feelings until she finds him safe and sound. The story is perfect for discussing feelings- ours and those of others.
Fabulous illustrations capture the spirit of the text perfectly. Although Zebra steals the show (and your heart!), the book is full of quirky, characterful animals- each of which deserves a story of their own! Many will be familiar to the reader; however, there are some such as yak and quail which might need further investigation. Children could create- and paint- their own animal alphabet. Each of Annie's paintings are displayed in a gallery at the end of the book and Julia Woolf treats the reader to end papers showing an acrobatic Zebra balancing, twisting and turning to create the shape of each letter.
Having read this to my Year 6 class as part of our National Share a Story Month Picture Book celebration, I honestly say that this is a laugh-out-loud, joyous little story which is full of beautiful illustrations.
Not Yet, Zebra Lou Kuenzler, illustrated by Julia Woolf
Faber and Faber ISBN: 978-0571329762