A menagerie of animals, ostracized for being different, form their own friendship club in this picture book.
Zoey is a zebra with green-and-black stripes, and Alexis is a one-armed monkey, each rejected by their respective peers for their differences. They inaugurate “The Weird Animal Club” when they meet and have so much fun together that they don’t “feel lonely or sad anymore.” The club grows when other forlorn animals come along. Among these are a hedgehog with one quill, a turtle with no shell, a two-legged crocodile, a lioness with a mane, and an ostrich with teeth. Knott-Craig (Bedtime Dinosaur Stories for Kids, 2017, etc.), a pediatric cardiac surgeon, writes that this tale was inspired by stories he would tell to his young daughter, who walked differently than other kids. In easy-to-follow prose, the author ends each encounter with an uplifting image of new friends playing. In the end, the book offers a simple message of self-acceptance. Goodway’s (Do You Dare?, 2018, etc.) full-page cartoon drawings of colorful creatures, alternating with brief text, reflect the overall approach of easy reassurance. One discordant note, though, is the explanation that Alexis has just one arm because “an alligator bit off the other one,” which may engender uneasiness when a toothy crocodile later joins the club.
A well-meaning children’s book with a gentle message.