Friday, 20 November 2015

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 20th November 2015 - "Julius Zebra - Rumble with the Romans" by Gary Northfield (Walker B

"So why ARE you so fascinated by the Romans, Charlotte?" I asked innocently. "They had EPIC battles and gladiators" she replied. I patrially blame Gary Northfield and this week's first awesome Book of the Week for this answer...
You may well laugh and scoff at the thought of a daft goggle-eyed Zebra becoming an unlikely roman hero but in "Julius Zebra - Rumble with the Romans" that's exactly how the story unfolds. Wrenched kicking and screaming from his homelands (er, no, actually absconding while disobeying his mum, let's be clear on this), young Julius embarks on an epic adventure with a warthog pal to the grand amphitheatres of Rome.

Rugged, lantern-jawed, handsome - these are things that Julius is not, and yet a slightly whiffy and mischievous Zebra would rather face a zillion lions or angry gladiators than face the prospect of another breakfast with his family (including his older show-off brother Brutus) down at the smelly old waterhole.

Gary Northfield, creator of awesome comic strips for The Phoenix Comic (Gary's Garden) has created an all new stripy-pajamaed hero to pit his inconsequential wits against the might of Rome.

This illustrated paperback had Charlotte laughing like a hyena (my family were eaten by hyenas once. Not really) from page one (a well timed poo gag never goes amiss).

Parents might be throwing up their hands in horror at the prospect of a book that features, of all things, a Zebra gadding around as a roman gladiator you didn't know Zebras REALLY did make it to Rome...

"Debra, er I mean Julius? Is that you?" - A Roman fresco found at Pompeii
What we particularly liked about this awesomely funny book was finding a really excellent set of interesting Roman facts nestling in the last few pages, teaching kids all about the things they've just been reading about - everything from understanding Roman numerals (which have always completely stumped us but now we're experts!) to learning more about why Roman roads were so straight and why Romans loved bloodthirsty sports so much.

An utterly awesome book that we're hoping will become a series (come ON, we definitely want Julius  to somehow trick his brother into pulling a chariot in a later story). Highly recommended!

Charlotte's favourite bit: Snorting with laughter at a happy pooing Ox at the start of the story ("Don't mind me, I'm just having a poo! SQuerrllch")

Daddy's favourite bit: Amongst the knockabout laughs and hilarity, a great slice of adventurous exploits for Julius AND a ton of great learning opportunities from Gary's useful glossary of Roman bits and bobs at the end of the book. Superb!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Walker books)

"Julius Zebra - Rumble with the Romans"

Written and Illustrated by Gary Northfield

Published by Walker Books

Publication Date (Paperback): 5th March 2015