The Zebra Forest

Written by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

Buy on Amazon

The zebra forest outside of eleven-year old Annie’s house begs for stories. The zebra stripes are white birch trees and dark oaks, making a cozy setting for Annie and her younger brother Rew to tell each other stories. They retell the books they’ve read, and then Annie makes up new ones, putting their father into the plot. In the stories, their father is a hero that they’d like to meet. But they know that is impossible because Gran told them the one thing they know about their father: he was killed by an angry man who was sent away. That is all the children ever asked since that much information sent Gran into a two-day brooding fit. But then a prison break changes their lives. With an escapee invading the house, Annie and Rew have to re-think everything they thought they knew —their stories, their relationships, and what makes up right and wrong. Even in a zebra-striped forest, nothing is as black and white as they originally thought.

While the vocabulary makes the book accessible to younger children, the storyline requires a more mature reading level. It will be enjoyable and useful for fifth-graders and up who are starting to understand subtlety instead of absolutes in rights and wrongs. This is Adina Rishe Gewirtz’s debut novel, yet it fits in well with the genre of work epitomized by Lois Lowry’s Gossamer and Clare Vanderpool’s Moon Over Manifest, where resilient children figure out how to grow stronger in less then perfect homes.
Zebra Forest

  • Title: Zebra Forest
  • Author: Adina Rishe Gewirtz
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • Reviewer: Amy S. Hansen
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • ISBN: 978-0-7636-6041-3
  • Genre: Realistic fiction

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *