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The Zebra’s Great Escape

Katherine Rundell, ill. Sara Ogilvie
Age 5-9

When Mink is swinging in the garden, trying to avoid bedtime, she doesn’t expect to meet a young zebra, or that he can communicate AND she will understand what he is saying.  Mink discovers that Gabriel (the zebra) is in urgent need of her help.

So begins a magical adventure with talking animals and a dastardly villain, who is thwarted through our heroine’s bravery and a determined team of animal helpers.

This is an exciting story with a satisfying ending and a clear message about helping others: ‘When people ask you for help, they are doing a magnificent thing, they are giving you the chance to change the world for the better.’

The Zebra’s Great Escape is a first picturebook from award winning children’s fiction writer Rundell. It is a story told with drama, warmth and humour. Her delightful text is perfectly matched by Sara Ogilvie’s lively illustrations. The book includes an A-Z of animals – which might inspire children to create their own.

Watch an introduction to the book from author, Katherine Rundell:


Read aloud

Although your child may be gaining confidence and able to read the text independently this is a great story to read aloud to your child. It is divided into sections, making it ideal to read over three story times. After sharing a section or before starting the next you could talk about what you both have found out so far and what your child hopes will happen next.

Talk more about the story
➤ Did anything surprise you?
➤ Did anything make you laugh?
➤ Talk about your favourite scenes from the story
➤ Which characters do you like best?

Download our activity book here

Things to make and do

Play a word game of animal alphabets
Take turns thinking of animals starting with as many letters of the alphabet as you can eg
A – player 1 antelope player 2 ‘aardwark’
B    player 1 beaver player 2 ‘bat’

Make an animal alphabet book
Help your child to make a series of zig zag books and join them together. Create an alphabet book with an animal for each letter – your child could make their own choices where possible.

Meet the cast
Give your child a large piece of paper to draw characters from the story.

Interview a character
With one of you is a reporter and the other a character from the story have an imaginary  interview them about what happened, what they saw, how they felt. The interviewer could use a cardboard tube as a prop

Find out More

Read more books by author Katherine Rundell. The Zebra’s Great Escape is Katherine Rundell’s first picturebook. She has written several novels for older children.

The Girl Savage

The Rooftoppers

The Wolf Wilder – see Lovemybooks activity page

The Explorer – see Lovemybooks activity page

The Good Thieves

Read more picturebooks illustrated by Sara Ogilvie Ogilvie, Sara | BookTrust