A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Imaginatively expands the Latin alphabet. Introduces the idea that people make up their alphabets.
Alphabets can be fun. Making up names of imaginary creatures is fun.
Positive Role Models
The narrator is funny, silly, creative. But one image of a Middle Eastern-type character is stereotypically portrayed wearing a head scarf and billowy pants and riding on the hump of a creature that looks like a camel.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that On Beyond Zebra! imagines 20 new letters that come after Z, and Dr. Seuss provides the pronunciation and word examples that go with them. The story plays second fiddle to the verse, which is a wry bit of nonsense that will keep kids giggling and word lovers happy, with wonderfully Seussian creatures as the Yuzz-a-ma-Tuzz and the High Gargel-orum. First published in 1955, the book also includes a stereotypical portrayal of a mustachioed Middle Eastern-type character wearing a head scarf and billowy pants and riding on a camel-like beast.
Is It Any Good?
This zany book lets kids take a break from the difficult work of learning their letters and be thankful that there are only 26 letters in the Latin (or Roman) alphabet. Older readers can have fun reading the words with brio and dash, accelerating up through those Nutches in their Nitches. The youngest can simply delight in having the loopy verse read to them while they scan the fanciful images. However, be aware that one image relies on a Middle Eastern stereotype: a man with head scarf and billowy pants riding on a camel-like creature.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.