Review Detail

Goofy Roman Zebras
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
Julius and his companions are back after Rumble with the Romans, since Hadrian has not given them their freedom as promised after their last battle in the Colosseum. Julius and his friends the crocodile, warthog, lion, mouse and giraffe are sent to Britain to spread the news that Hadrian is a great guy. Not surprisingly, when they arrive, the reception is not great AND the animals they have to face in battle are much better than they are. Julius assesses the situation and comes up with a great idea to save the day, and possibly his friends as well. The book ends on a cliff hanger, but we will have to wait until Entangled with the Egyptians comes out in the US.
Good Points
This is a goofy notebook novel with pop eyed animals fighting with swords, and there are enough immature jokes to keep younger readers guffawing. For older readers, there is a bit of Roman history. This is akin to a historical Stick Dog book, although Julius is not quite bright enough to be as philosophical as Stick Dog. It's still an excellent introduction to Roman history.

I'm never quite sure how accurate the history is, in the same way that I'm always a bit confused by Lucy and Andy Neanderthal. What's funny and what is something that actually happened? Oldfield apparently worked on some of the Horrible Histories, so I'll assume that the details are correct. Will the target audience care? The details are close enough to the truth that it's not going to make them make errors in their social studies papers or tests, and they just might have some fun information to share in class!

The British are far better at making history an appealing topic for readers, and Julius Zebra is a great addition to books like Stickman Odyssey, I Survived the Eruption of Pompeii, and Messner's Ranger in Time: Danger in Ancient Rome.
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