Written and Illustrated by Kristyna Litten
Published by Simon & Schuster ISBN: 978-1-4711-4579-7
Reviewed by Karl Andy Foster
Hand rendered text emblazoned on the wraparound cover introduces us to Ziggy and the promise of a show! Ziggy is a Zebra who lives in a rose and indigo tinted world with his many animal friends. This is the third picture book for Simon & Schuster by Kristyna Litten and it doesn’t disappoint. Children aged 0 to 4 are in for a treat.
Ziggy is relaxed and looking forward to a special event when he hears “Hoo Hoo!”, and thus his adventure begins. This tale of searching for a lost chick delights us with its inventive puzzle based visuals and makes one realize just how many animals and plants have striped patterns. Ziggy and the mother bird are in a race against time as they explore all manner of terrain in a bid to locate the little chick.
The illustrations by Litten are bold, direct but subtle in the use of blending and shading, with the animal characters distinctive and well defined. Ziggy is a striped letter ‘J’ with four hooved feet and a tail attached. He has good eyesight but poorer judgement. As this book’s narrative is based on the successful formula of seek and find, or show and tell, children should find the search exciting, and I’m sure they will be determined to spot the stripes in the environments before an adult reader does.
The text of the story successfully uses a variety of type sizes for emphasis and also to denote the expressive qualities of some words. Onomatopoeia is the name of the game here, and children will recognise these words first and want to join in as the book is read to them. This clever arrangement of the text works well with the sparseness of some of the spreads but also it doesn’t crowd the busier images.
The final double page spread presents a delightful jungle environment dominated by the Moon and the dancing moths. The long portrait image provides the scale and space for a complex finale. Ziggy is joined by his new friends and reunited with his mother. Litten has crafted a tale that is entertaining, interactive and filled with playful ideas and charm.