English / Malaysia

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Quek Sue Yian (text)
Khairul Azmir Shoib (illus.)
Kuala Lumpur: Oyez! / Integra Majujaya,
2012. – [48] p.
ISBN 978-967-5250-82-8

Dictator | War | Refugee | Racism | Friendship | Family | Animal story

A long time ago, okapis and zebras lived together peacefully in the savannah. When food and space become limited and a new leader rises among the okapi, zebras are suddenly declared illegal and war breaks out. Kailash, a little orphan zebra, has to flee the country. He tries to find a new home among a herd of performing foals, yet they and their owner are less than friendly at first.

In this moving, fablelike story, told from the little zebra’s point of view, author Quek Sue Yian addresses the arbitrariness of war as well as the prejudice and harsh treatment that refugees oft en face. The energetic mixed-media illustrations by Khairul Azmir Shoib add a gothic touch to the book by portraying the scenes and characters in dark colours and distorted shapes. They skilfully capture the young refugee’s fears and feeling of isolation. With an introduction by UNHCR Malaysia and notes for parents and teachers at the back, this book is an attractive incentive to talk about war and refugees. (Age: 5+)