What If the Zebras Lost Their Stripes?

ISBN: 0809166496
ISBN 13: 9780809166497
By: John Reitano William Wister Haines

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Reader's Thoughts


A good book that, at it's heart, addresses racism by asking questions about zebras that end up black and white.


I really liked the message of this book, which is to show children in a very simple way that no matter a persons color, we are all Gods creation. It teaches that superficial qualities like the color we see on the outside doesn't matter when it comes to acceptance and friendship. The zebras, whether they are black or white, are still zebras, just as people are still people no matter what.

Lisa Carroll

I chose this picture book because it is a very simple story yet it has a very poignant message. This book might not work well in the public school system because it deals with God and religion. My son attends a private, Catholic school and this book would be appropriate at a setting such as his school. It's important that children learn from an early age that even though we might look different with one another, we need to celebrate our commonalities. We need to teach respect. A simple story such is this is able to get the point across in a way that is easy to comprehend for a small child. This book was the Winner of the National Parenting Center Seal of Approval. The wording was brief, but the print was large for an emergent reader. The animals in the book had plenty of color, but there wasn't an abundance of detail or too much in the background to detract from the message of the story.

Amianne Bailey

3rd-4th Read Aloud: A simple rhyming picture book with a deep message. Generated lots of discussion about the importance of not judging people based on appearance. We discussed the difference between racism and prejudice. Great for symbolism and theme.


Great art! A wonderful way to tell kids that what they look like do not change who they are.


This story is about what would happen if Zebra’s lost their stripes and some where black and some were white. Would they still get along and be friends? Would they still be allowed to play together or would they be segregated to different lands?I bought this book because it was part of a package being sold through Scholastic for black history month. I don’t think I would have bothered buying it on my own. Working with preschool and Kindergarten children, I find this topic of black and white segregation a bit advanced for them. It may be more appropriate for older children who are starting to talk about differences in skin colour, but even then I don’t think I would bother informing the children in my room with this book. The book ends with the line “I know why God gave Zebras stripes, so that there’d be no black or white!”That line just irritates me to no end. Working in such a multicultural setting we value all our differences as they are what make us who we are. Not to mention if you want to come at it from a Religious angle did God not create all his creatures differently?”

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