What If the Zebras Lost Their Stripes?
John Reitano. Paulist Press, $16.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8091-6649-7
With rhymed couplets and goofy illustrations, this parable attempts to teach that love looks beyond superficial differences. Reitano, an educator and speaker, asks, ""What if the zebras/ lost their stripes,/ and some lost black/ and some lost white?"" Would the zebras recognize their common identity, or would they begin to notice their new differences in color and start to fight? Would they move to separate lands, or would the young zebras be allowed to laugh and play together? Reitano raises the stakes with each new possibility of the choices the zebras might make. Though Haines's vibrant colors add warmth to the illustrations, the animals' human-like expressions are jarring. This simplistic tale about overcoming differences and achieving harmony overlooks the deeper ramifications of racism. Ages 4-up. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1998