Journey To A New Earth

Penelope Panda and Kobi Koala Discover A New Earth (Journey to New Earth Book 1)

Children - Animals
15 Pages
Reviewed on 12/15/2020
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Zeiny Sher is a children’s book author whose journey began while writing a journal of life’s little love and connection experiences for her three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son. With a very close-knit family, Sher has always been passionate about the universal connection we all have and teaching this to the younger generation. She has coached teenage girls on self-esteem and self-worth. Sher enjoys meditation in nature, CrossFit, Safari holidays and baking with her little ones.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lois Henderson for Readers' Favorite

What child does not love pandas and koala bears? Despite the widely diverse nature of the habitats in which the two thrive in the real world, they are joyfully united in the delightful children’s book, Journey to a New Earth: Penelope Panda and Kobi Koala Discover a New Earth, written by Zeiny Sher and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodová. When Penelope Panda, as it is such a lovely day, decides to go for a walk in the forest, little does she know that she will encounter Kobi Koala, just recently escaped from a forest fire in which he lost all his friends. Penelope reassures Kobi that she will help find his friends, so the intrepid duo sets out to do just that.

The bright colors used in the cheerful illustrations in Journey to a New Earth should be enough to uplift any child. The deep-felt message of the essentially harmonious nature of the natural environment brings a reinforcing spirit to the book that shows the true intent of Zeiny Sher―to illustrate just how beautiful the world can be when all creatures live in harmony. The text is very reassuring and conveys a tranquil sense of the beauty that is most probably only present in visions of an Earth restored to its full self, sans corruption and pollution (being a “new world”, as such). In deeper terms, the world that is idealized here could very well be a spiritual one, elevated far above the norm. Some interesting question and answer sessions could easily arise from this book, especially in a class or Sunday school setting. An intriguing idea, colorfully presented!

Jack Magnus

Journey To A New Earth: Penelope Panda and Kobi Koala Discover A New Earth is an animal adventure book for children, grades k-3 written by Zeiny Sher and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova. Penelope Panda luxuriated in the warmth of a glorious spring morning. Everything seemed perfect as she strolled through her woodland paradise. Suddenly, she felt hungry and climbed a nearby tree to indulge in some tasty leaves. But what was the anxious, squeaking noise she heard? Who or what could it be? Was there anything she could do to help?

I’m always on the lookout for a new take on my favorite classic genre, quest fantasy, and was surprised and delighted to discover Zeiny Sher’s grand quest fantasy written at a level that lets kids enter a rich and marvelous tradition and actually read and enjoy quest fantasy on their own. I was instantly enraptured by Zuzana Svobodova’s enchanting illustrations. Each one shares a marvelous world-vision filled with color, life, and magic. Her touch for composition is perfect, allowing new readers to revel in seeing art through new eyes, in discovering the marvelous details and surprises peeking out in each panel. The author and artist convey young readers into a place of magic and mystery and entice them into discovering the glories of nature as Penelope gambols along. Sher’s quest introduces children to empathy as they watch Penelope set out to help the frightened and forlorn koala. No one, I imagine, is immune to the stories of fires blazing out of control all over the planet, of the millions of animals and humans displaced by the roaring infernos. Sher gives a face and a name to those millions of displaced koalas through this story.

The role of the singing tree is pure classic high fantasy. I’d like to think it’s the precursor for at least a few new readers to many happy hours reading Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and other great fantasy writers. The wonder they experience listening to a talking tree and envisioning how an injured world can be healed and brought into harmony and light again is something they can hold onto for themselves, to nurture and see their own role in making it happen. And the message about the connectedness of all living creatures may help to heal those young souls who have already, like Kobi, experienced loss, which, on its own face, is such an incomprehensible thing. Journey To A New Earth is most highly recommended.

Asher Syed

Journey to a New Earth: Penelope Panda and Kobi Koala Discover a New Earth, written by Zeiny Sher and illustrated by Zuzana Svobodova, is the first book in the children's picture book series by the same name. The book begins with Penelope Panda waking up to a precious new day and reveling in the wonder and happiness she feels even in simple, everyday routines. As she is about to take a nap, she hears a chirping and soon finds Kobi Koala, whose home was destroyed in a wildfire and whose friends are nowhere to be found. As Penelope tries to help Kobi find those he's lost, they find a magnificent tree that shows them the true connection between themselves, everything, and everyone that surrounds them even when they are far away.

Journey to a New Earth is a beautiful story with a message of unity and environmental regeneration that will likely appeal to many young readers. I admit I had a little difficulty understanding how a koala found his way from his native Australia to the natural habitat of a panda in East Asia, but as my daughter didn't seem to care or even notice, we were able to crack on quite easily in Zeiny Sher's story. The standout in this book is definitely the brilliant illustrations by Zuzana Svobodova. They are glorious in both color and composition and bring to life the light that the story centers around. The tiny fingers of a child lingering on a page as she takes in its art are the highest possible honor an artist can achieve and Svobodova is an artist in the truest sense. This is a wonderful book and I look forward to more in the series.