Book Review: Abracazebra by Helen Docherty & Thomas Docherty



In Yawnalot, a sleepy old place
Where everyone knew each other’s face,
Life went by in its usual way;
Day after day… after day… after day.

So begins Abracazebra, a book by husband-and-wife team Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty. Nothing ever happens in Yawnalot, until Abracazebra shows up one magical day. She brings so much colour and life to Yawnalot with her fantastic show, and almost all the animals (especially the little ones) adore her. All except for Goat, who is jealous of the attention being taken away from him.

The animals like Abracazebra so much that they want her to stay with them in Yawnalot, but Goat does not like the idea at all. He starts spreading rumours that the zebra could not be trusted because she had stripes and none of the other animals had stripes. The animals are slowly influenced by Goat and eventually, Abracazebra is forced to leave Yawnalot.



There is a happy ending though, and through the story of Abracazebra, children learn about the harmful nature of jealousy and spreading rumours, and the importance of celebrating diversity. There is also a lesson on being willing to admit when you have done something wrong and making up for your mistake.

Abracazebra is an engaging and beautifully-illustrated children’s book. But it is so much more than just that. The story of Abracazebra and the animals of Yawnalot can be used to start meaningful conversations about friendship, peer pressure, bullying and empathy. Abracazebra addresses the serious issue of accepting differences in a light-hearted and accessible way and is available from Book Depository for S$12.10.

For those of you who like having activities to accompany the book, you can download a ‘Spot the Difference’ activity sheet, a colouring picture, or a DIY Abracazebra mask from the author’s website.

Disclaimer: We received the book from Book Depository for review purposes. This review contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

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