The Zebra Who Ran too Fast by Jenni Desmond

‘Zebra, Elephant and Bird are three best friends together. Then one day, they all fall out because Zebra runs TOO fast and doesn’t listen to his friends. Only then do they all discover the true meaning of friendship. A charming and beautifully illustrated story about the ups and downs of friendship from the exciting and award-winning new talent, Jenni Desmond.’

Walker Books 2014

What I really love about this book are the illustrations, in particular the barren landscapes of the African plains. The colours of the landscapes are muted, pale and naturalistic; juxtaposed with  storm-filled skies that create a striking contrast full of atmosphere.

Jenni captures the calm before the storm and the all encompassing feeling of an approaching storm. Funnily enough, as I write this I can hear the distant rumbling of thunder and see that yellowy tint develop as the gradual darknening of daylight takes over the sky. This is happening outside of my living room window right now. The eerie silences as the birds suddenly stop chirping and find shelter. The pages within this book cunjure up all of that.

Jenni’s illustrations communicate and embody movement, the trees flow across the page as the wind stretches them horizontally, the leaves scattering like confetti.

The use of mixed media adds depth and energy to the pages, and then you have her beautifully designed characters, filled with subtle expression in their posture or the simple line of their eyes.

Since this book arrived at my door a few days ago, I have picked it up over and over again. I like it more with every read.

Now I need to get my hands on Jenni Desmond’s first book Red Cat Blue Cat.

Check out Jenni’s Website to see more of her work.

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