Zany: The Saddest Little Donkey, An Original Australian Story

Carmel Brudenell, illustrated by Salvador Capuyan

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 24 Price: (paperback) $11.99 ISBN: 9798369495094 Reviewed: June, 2024 Author Website: Visit »

A donkey who feels inferior compared to her pony friend finally has her moment in the sun in this children’s picture book.

Zany, a little gray donkey, and Selwyn, a Welsh Mountain pony, share a paddock. Zany admires Selwyn’s beauty, as do the human visitors who sometimes stop along the road for a closer look. During one visit, Selwyn neighs, so Zany brays, prompting the people to laugh at the strange sounds she makes.

To avoid feeling even worse, Zany retreats from contact with humans. But then a school bus full of children arrives, and Zany is chosen for a key role in the school’s Christmas concert. Full of pride, Zany performs her part by carrying the actors playing Mary and baby Jesus, and is rewarded with “the biggest carrot cake in the World [sic].”

Zany is a cute and sympathetic character. To the book’s credit, Selwyn isn’t portrayed as mean or arrogant, but simply as a pony who is proud of his own identity. It’s up to Zany to realize that she has value too, and being selected for the concert teaches her that everyone has different abilities, but no one is inherently better.

The art serves the story well. A clear, cartoony style reinforces the plot’s action, and there are a few indelible, captivating images, like the story’s final page featuring Zany being applauded by the concert audience.

However, although written in what is mostly a straightforward, appealing style, the book is marred by grammatical errors. For example, the book’s dedication page includes the phrase “Taken to [sic] soon,” while in the story, the author writes that “Selwyn neighed too [sic] the visitors.” Capitalization, punctuation, and tenses are inconsistent. Although these mistakes are minor when considered alone, they lower the quality of the reading experience taken as a whole, creating an unprofessional presentation.

Zany is a pleasant children’s book that could be improved with some careful editing.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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