Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield
Walker, 2015. ISBN 9781406354928
Recommended for readers from 8+. Themes: Zebras - fiction, Gladiators, Rome - fiction. Julius Zebra's life is rather boring, he longs for adventure, freedom from his dull existence on the African plains. He absolutely hates Wednesdays, bath day in the smelliest watering-hole in the Serengeti! While his mother and older brother Brutus love bathing in the stinking lake, drinking the disgusting water and catching up with their zebra friends. How quickly things change, caught in a trap with a friendly warthog and the fierce nomadic lion that had been chasing them. Captured by Roman centurions, the odd trio endures a long sea journey to Rome, where they are destined to become circus animals at the Colosseum.
Gary Northfield's humorous cartoons showcase Julius's rise to fame, the fun and games, the struggles as he learns to become a gladiator, sword fighting and hand to hand combat. This is a laugh out loud story as the motley band of animals combine their natural animal instincts with their gladiator training to become strong competitors. This book follows a similar format to the Horrible Histories series combining facts about Ancient Rome, Spartacus and the life of gladiators with funny sketches. The animals' dialogue is sharp, witty, sarcastic, Cornelius the warthog is a great foil to Julius's character. A great story to share with a class or share with a child who enjoys historical fiction