Zips Goes Wandering by Chris Marsh
Releases: March 15th, 2014 by BookTrope
Age Recommendation: Preschool through 2nd Grade
This is the first book of the series, Savannah Friends, and tells the story of Zips the Zebra and how, after being told by his mum about the dangers of walking off alone, decides to go on adventure by himself only to end up in trouble!
After getting chased by a hungry lion and crocodile it is down to Zips to find his way back home by asking his friends.
Zipping across the savannah from friend to friend Zips finally manages to find his way home and back to the safety with his mum.
Through rhyming and bright, exciting pictures Zips has proven exciting for many young children and their parents find it a useful tool to teach their kids about the dangers of wandering off alone and what to do if they get lost.
Praise for Zips Goes Wandering
"Be prepared to fall in love with Zips in the magnificent and rugged African savannah.”—Della Connor, author of The Spirit Warrior series
"Plunge into the unknown with Zips the curious zebra and find a savannah filled with friends." —Jennifer L. Hotes, illustrator of the Inventor-in-Training series and author of Four Rubbings
“A charming book—the rhyming text makes it a great read-aloud. In addition, it gives kids an idea of the kind of animals that really do live in a savannah habitat.” —Roxie Munro, author/illustrator of Slithery Snakes and EcoMazes: 12 Earth Adventures
"Chris Marsh captivates with witty verse and charms with colorful scenes as Zip wanders from friend to friend across the savannah, finding his way back home. A treat for young readers and parents alike." - Steven Luna, author of Songs from the Phenomenal Nothing
Interview with the Author
1. Tell us something about yourself.
I currently live in London, England and have done so for the last 7 years which is very different from where I grew up in the heart of the English countryside. Growing up in a rural village surrounded by farms, fields and forests gave me the opportunities to go on an endless number of adventures with my friends which allowed for my creative side to flourish. I'm a keen painter and pianist and love spending my spare time either drawing, writing or playing or listening to music. I have five nieces and nephews who also keep me very busy so I often rely on my creative streak to find exciting things for them to do and I hope that this will rub off on them.
2. Give a brief description of your book, Zips Goes Wandering.
Zips is about a young zebra who loves an adventure but doesn't realise the dangers involved with wandering off without telling his mum. After she warns him not to wander off, he does just that and soon finds himself in a spot of bother with a hungry lion and crocodile. Fortunately, he manages to get himself out of trouble but only finds himself lost and miles from home. By asking his various friends for help he darts backwards and forwards across the savannah and before nightfall, he finds his family.
3. Why did you write Zips Goes Wandering ?
My five very active nieces and nephews are pretty fearless when it comes to going on adventures, often without telling a grown up where they're off to. Knowing their love for stories and indifference to obeying rules I decided to create a story that they would pay attention to, enjoy and therefore remember. Zips Goes Wandering engaged them to ask questions about getting lost and since first hearing the story they haven't gone wandering off, unless it's to the kitchen to raid the sweet and cake cupboard.
4. Zips Goes Wandering has lots of animal characters. Which ones are your favorites?
I've always thought that zebras are pretty cool and interesting animals which is why I chose a zebra for the main character. But I also really like Alex Antelope, not only because I like his massive antlers but also because he's named after one of my nephews.
5. Is this book part of a series?
Zips Goes Wandering aims at teaching children not to wander off and to spark up a conversation between children and their parents or guardians. It had such a great impact on my nieces and nephews that I thought about covering a variety of issues that children will come across through life. The next book covers an issue that is a worry for all parents - bullying - but I wanted to make it slightly different to other bullying stories and that's to focus the book from the bully's point of view. So keep an eye out for that one!
6. Your illustrations in Zips Goes Wandering are so expressive. Can you tell us about your illustration methods?
I actually first created the characters when I was about 13 in a Home Economics class at school - we were making aprons and I decorated mine with Zips and his friends (although they didn't have names back then). When I first started writing the story of Zips onto paper I remembered the apron, dug it out and thought, here's a style of drawing I've never seen before and that would be recognisable. I really think that the characters are quite cute which will hopefully appeal to adults as well.
7. The page design of Zips Goes Wandering is vibrant. Can you tell us about why you chose to place the text inside the clouds?
The words on the page are separated from the actual pictures themselves so I wanted to connect the two somehow. As the words seemed to float about on the page I thought, why not have them float about in a cloud above the savannah?
8. Why did you choose to set this book in the African savannah?
I've always had a fascination with African savannah animals. I've never been to Africa but I've been to so many zoos and even from a little boy I remember being mesmerized by the giraffes, elephants, rhinos, zebras and lions more than the other animals. One day I'll get to Africa so I can see a real life Zips in the wild.
9. What kinds of children’s books have inspired you?
I'm so pleased that my nieces and nephews are great lovers of books because it gives me an excuse to read picture books to them. My favourite has to be Julia Donaldson. Her books are so much fun and the stories and rhyming draw the reader into the story every time.
10. What artists have inspired you?
Axel Scheffler is brilliant. He's so talented and has worked with Julia Donaldson on a number of books including The Highway Rat and The Gruffalo. I think I enjoy the pictures more than my nieces and nephews! As a child I was a huge fan of the Roald Dahl books and a large part of that was because of the illustrations drawn by Quentin Blake. They're quite simple but have a real impact on the reader because they're so unique, fun and match the character of the story they're in perfectly. "
Chris Marsh grew up in the heart of the English Countryside and spent many sunny days going on wild adventures and long expeditions, with his mother constantly reminding him to be careful. On those rainy days he would spend hours either reading, painting or drawing, letting his imagination go wild and creating a variety of stories and tales about his adventures. Surrounded by pets and constantly exploring the local wildlife and farm animals, Chris developed a love for animals which crept into his creativity. Years later it was Chris' turn to do the careful reminding to his adventurous nieces and nephews and he found the only way to engage them was through stories.
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