Monday, 22 October 2012

A review of "Zac and Zeb and the Make-Believe Birthday Party" by Sarah Massini

Hi People in the Ether,

      Zac is a spotty dog and Zeb is a stripy zebra, and they are best friends. This, their first adventure, opens with Zac's birthday celebrations. When all the fun is over we learn that Zeb isn't the most patient creature and he wants his birthday right now. Zac tells him that it's next. Unfortunately, the little zebra takes this to mean tomorrow and is heartbroken when guests and gifts fail to arrive the next day. Instead, Zac rushes to the rescue and suggests a make-believe birthday party, complete with imagined gifts, an exciting journey and a scrummy picnic - on the Moon.

   The story trots along with nicely-pitched text, making use of great active words, and the use of glum as a verb made me grin! The font is very fluid, it zips around the illustrations and changes size for emphasis where needed - but it's never over-played.

   We meet our duo on a great introductory page, before the title page even. It's a nice touch and let's us know who and what they are and that they are each  "a good kind of best friend". This serves to save time, we can delve right into the story, and will be useful in their future outings, I'm sure - readers will be able to start reading at any book, not needing any more back story than this. Massini has created two really lively and loveable characters and gives us a strong sense of their personalities and the dynamic between them.

   The black and white of Zac and Zab contrasts zingily with the vibrant surroundings and supporting characters. The spreads, other than those in outer space, are crisp and white allowing the vivid shades to pop beautifully. The make-believe space backgrounds are rightly dreamy and I really appreciated the pair's cute flag which they plant on the Moon - with spots and stripes to match their own markings.

   I very much enjoyed this and I think, much like Zeb at the end of the tale, we've more fun and games to come.

   Thanks for reading,

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