#BookReview: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

Hilarious start to a brilliant book series!

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Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans book coverTitle: Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle grade/Older Children’s fiction, Humour

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Description: So you think you know ZEBRAS, do you?  They’re handsome, eat lots of grass, and um…are always getting eaten by lions.  Let’s face it, they’re a little bit boring and stupid, too.  But a tussle with a grumpy gladiator can soon change a zebra…So cheer on our stripy hero, Julius, as he scraps for survival in history’s deadliest theatre: THE COLOSSEUM!  Just don’t call him a horse! (or Debra…)

My Review:  This book is so hilarious and just so silly but with a brilliant story too! ‘Julius Zebra Rumble with the Romans’ is the first book in the Julius Zebra series with the second and third books being ‘Bundle with the Britons’ and ‘Entangled with the Egyptians’. This book is where the adventures of Julius begins. Having been forced to go to the lake with his mother and his brother Brutus, Julius wants nothing more than to leave the stinky place and go home. But when a stampede of animals runs from the lake Julius finds himself alone, with a very annoying warthog, and together they have to escape both a lion and the Romans who are after them.

I started reading this series from the second book and have really loved it but going back to this first book I was a little worried that I might not find it as funny as the later ones, as sometimes happens when you enter a series in the middle. However I shouldn’t have been worried, this book had me laughing from the first pages ad it’s fun to see how Julius, a zebra from Africa, ends up battling Roman gladiators.

Very funny and silly images throughout the text.

The book is pure humour and a very daft/silly humour which I just love. It has a very British humour, even down to the characters saying things like ‘Cor!’ and it feels like some classic British comedies where there’s a lot of silliness and slapstick involved. The book also has a Horrible Histories feel to it seeing as Julius is a zebra in the times when the Romans were a powerful nation. As the story unfolds there are lots of illustrations to go along with the text. These pictures have to be read along side the text, they make up part of the story and something about this style of book is just so appealing and I really enjoy it.

The illustrations are hilarious and there’s just something I find instantly funny about Julius, his friends and those eyes! Every pictures is silly and I’ll admit I laughed aloud on more than one occasion from the pictures alone! The pictures are all black and white. The ending of the story is a satisfying one, in fact it is my favourite ending of any Julius Zebra book (so far) given what Julius does. The book has a proper conclusion but also an epilogue which leads nicely into the second book ‘Bundle with the Britons’.

Fun images tell the story as well as the text.

One thing I really love about this book is the setting and the fact that it’s a bit of a historical lesson in Romans too. There is a glossary at the back of the book explaining some of the Roman terms and words that you read in the text as well as a fun lesson on how to count in roman Numerals and of course Cornelius is always explaining facts within the story.

I can’t recommend this book enough, and in fact the entire series. I have definitely become a fan of Julius Zebra and can’t wait for every adventure he goes on. It’s a wonderfully funny book which plenty of kids will love, but it’s also a bit educational too. I also think a fair few adults will enjoy this story too.
-Thanks to Walker Books for a free copy.


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#BookReview: Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield #MPBooks

A very funny book middle grade/kids book which any age may enjoy.

Julius Zebra Bundle with the Britons book coverTitle: Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons

Author/Illustrator: Gary Northfield

Publisher: Walker Books

Genre: Middle Grade/Children’s, Humour

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Description: So you think you know about Julius Zebra do you!
He’s handsone.  He’s the people’s champion of the Roman gladiator world!  He’s off on his jolly holibobs with his besties…
Emperor Hadrian has one last task for Julius before he grants his freedom, and it involves a trip to the strand and far-off land of Britannia!

My Review:  ‘We’re off on our holibobs!’ Why on earth that phrase makes me smile I don’t know but it does and I love, LOVE this book! ‘Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons’ is the second book in the Julius Zebra series and I just can’t wait to read more!

The story is about Julius, a zebra who is a champion gladiator of Rome. Julius is a bit of a celebrity and the book quickly introduces us to his other animal friends, Felix an antelope, Cornelius a warthog and Lucia a crocodile, to name a few. The story is very funny and Julius and his friends mistakenly think Emperor Hadrian has sent them off on their holibobs (holidays) to the strange land of Britannia but they soon learn the truth about what they are really doing there.

Fun pictures throughout the text.

The story is daft and silly but also very, very funny. I wasn’t sure I was going to get into this book at first, given the strange setting of a few animals walking and talking among the people of Rome but it quickly because an engaging read and the more I read the more I laughed. The book has lots of funny images, in black and white, among the text and for some reason I’m really drawn to the silliness of them. Julius and his friends are quite daft and the whole look of the illustrations just lends to this daft humour.

The story has a satisfying ending but leaves you with an epilogue that sets up the next book in the series which will be ‘Julius Zebra: Entangled with the Egyptians’ which I can’t wait to read. The back of the book has some interesting facts which I really enjoyed and it made me like this book even more. The author explains some of the things that the Romans brought to Britain, not all of them I knew about, but it’s done in a funny way that makes you laugh.
There is also an explanation of how roman numerals work.  It is educational but done in a very fun way with characters from the story explaining how it works. It’s included because this book has the fun added extra of every page number being written in roman numerals instead of the usual digits we use today.
My favourite extra at the end of the book though is Felix’s rock collection. Some of the rocks and their names really made me laugh.

Funny illustrations!

This book will really appeal to kids and older who like something silly but funny. It’s not a complicated story but I really enjoyed reading this and after the recent disappointment of another funny book aimed at kids, which wasn’t for me, I’m glad to say that this book has just the right sense of humour to really put a smile on my face. I can’t wait for the next instalment in the series and am now going to buy the first book ‘Julius Zebra: Rumble with the Romans’ too!
-Thanks to Walker books for a free copy.


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