Review Blog

Jun 20 2017

Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield

cover image

Julius Zebra series. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406373721
(Age: 8+) Ancient Rome. Animal stories. Gladiators. Humorous stories. Champion gladiator Julius Zebra returns in another crazy adventure accompanied by his zany animal friends. Life for the People's Champion should be exciting; everybody loves this zebra, he even signs hoof print autographs in the muddy streets of Rome. Emperor Hadrian has promised Julius his freedom after one last fight at the Colosseum, but the ruler has an alternate plan. Unfortunately, they have one more task to complete, a tournament in distant Britannia. Julius is disappointed as he was set to enjoy his upcoming holibobs, while Felix the warthog wanted to add to his extensive rock collection and Rufus the giraffe planned a relaxing fishing holiday. Instead, they must travel on a stinky sailing ship, far across the seas to an unknown place to fight in another tournament.
Septimus the gladiators' trainer is a hard taskmaster on board; he forces the animals to scrub the decks daily and sleep in hammocks inside the stinky hold. An attempt to dress in chainmail and escape the confines of the ship leads to a hilarious incident that requires the rescue of the crocodile, warthog, giraffe, lion and antelope.
Life in Roman Britain proves fraught with danger, the smelly streets of Londinium treacherous, and their holiday home a hovel near the small amphitheatre. The animals are quirky character drawn together in difficult circumstances, unaware that their opponents are mean fighting machines.
Gary Northfield's hilarious cartoons highlight how Julius and his friends struggle with life in an unknown land, as they prepare to face new combatants in the arena. The animals' irreverent dialogue is sharp, witty and sarcastic. This is another laugh out loud story, with plenty of jokes, gags and puns. These stories combine facts about Ancient Rome life with humorous scenes and silly animal antics.
Rhyllis Bignell

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