cover image Shanti


DK Publishing, Maartje Padt. DK Publishing (Dorling Kindersley), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7894-2520-1

Shimmering batik artwork sets a striking backdrop for this story about a zebra at twilight on the African plain. Shanti can feel that ""something"" is going to happen soon, though she doesn't know what it will be. Is it the approach of the lion? As the zebras race away from him, she gets separated from her herd. She wanders from one animal to the next, from the chameleon to the colobus monkeys to the rhinoceros and viper, all realistically represented against electric-hued, abstract scenery. ""I'm lost and alone,"" she whimpers. ""Where are the other zebras?"" They tell her to search different locales, and assure her, intriguingly: ""You won't be alone much longer."" In the case of the giraffe, among whose legs Shanti nuzzles, there is a fold-up page that follows the animal's entire long neck, showcased against a pink and purple sky. Freeman's exquisite rendering of the zebras' stripes, for example, and Padt's sensitive text confer an enormous dignity upon the animals. With an original and unexpected (and happy) ending, this Dutch team's effort is a rare treat. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)