Title: The Sun Zebra
Author: Rolando Garcia
Genre: Family Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
The Sun Zebra is a collection of family-friendly stories about the “adventures in living” of an unusual little girl named Nell, her mother, Rhonda, and Nell’s father who is the narrator of the stories. The stories deal with how the world of adults and its hard realities intersects with the magical carefree world of children. Their purpose is to help us discover or rediscover what it is to see the world through the eyes of a child.
Nell, the little girl who is the star of these stories, is a delight. She thinks deeply about things and comes up with the kind of responses to situations that could only come from a young child. The stories take you back to a time when you, or perhaps your children, were very young. They embody the freshness of early childhood and show clearly the different perspective a child has on the world.
The author is an excellent writer. In these few short stories, he manages to draw Nell and her father clearly. Mr Smith, a war veteran, is another noteworthy character, and his story of a Christmas tree with meaning is perhaps my favourite of them all.
I enjoyed all the stories, due to their light touch, the gentle and caring adults, the sweet innocence of Nell and the inventive nature of the stories.
My second favourite is the Sun Zebra in which Nell sees a Zebra which she is very excited about, but when she takes her father to see it, there is nothing there but an old horse. They return several times, the adults sure that there is no Zebra, but Nell insists that there is. The author paints a beautiful picture of a young child wanting to be believed and the tale shows how literal and dull we adults can be on our interpretation of what we see.
The story of Bob the cicada also brought a smile to my face. The image of the poor insect stuck in a bit of paper attached to a balloon is certainly unusual, and the story woven around Nell’s desire for Bob to fly is very sweet and has an unexpected outcome.
I recommend this book for any time you want something light and sweet. It’s a short book, so good for reading between longer works.