Ashraf lives in Africa, but not in the stereotypical place with lions, crocodiles, or zebras; his home (like the authors' and illustrator's) is Cape Town, depicted here as much like any big city, though there are some unusual things for sale and the unique music of Africa can be heard in the streets. There's also a library, where Ashraf finds his favorite book--the one that tells about the lions he has never seen, lazing in the sun. Gently, the authors make their important point, focusing on Ashraf's real world and the amusing irony of his finding the jungle just as exotic as his American counterparts do. Maritz's illustrations, his first, are outstanding; using broad brushstrokes and slightly muted colors in vibrant juxtapositions, he brings Ashraf's city to life in paint while representing those other landscapes more impressionistically. No poverty is shown; most of the faces are dark, including the librarian's, but this book is not about racial issues. A salutary glimpse of life's similarities in South Africa.