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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Zulu The Pupa: A Tale of Dung Beetle Series, Book #1 is a children’s social issues picture book written by Joyce Y. Taylor and illustrated by Kavion Robinson. Everything seemed simple when Zulu’s parents were with him. They had always assured him that he would be “the greatest of them all.” They left, however, when he changed from the larval to the pupal stage and Zulu began to feel useless and alone -- and he hated the smell where he rested. Everyone he saw in the South African countryside seemed better than him. There were beautiful butterflies, efficient ants, crickets, and all manner of creatures with skills or beauty. Zulu tried to do the things they could do and was always met with failure. He wanted so much to have a purpose just like those other insects. The firefly he met imparted words of wisdom and promised he too would have his own purpose -- he just had to be patient. But patience was hard for a young, lonely pupa. Would it ever happen? Would he ever be special?
Joyce Y. Taylor’s Zulu The Pupa addresses the need children often feel to be like or as good as their peers in school and social settings. Zulu’s case is remarkable as his parents are no longer around to provide love, support, and reassurance. I loved following as he interacts with the other insects and seeing how they each in turn comfort him and promise he will come into his own glory once he grows up. Kavion Robinson’s artwork brings the African savanna to life brilliantly. Each panel showcases the insects, their environment, and their activities. Zulu The Pupa transports kids to the natural world while giving them a character they can identify with. The blend of social and environmental issues is an ideal method for getting kids involved and motivated while helping them learn to value their own talents and skills. Zulu The Pupa: A Tale of Dung Beetle Series, Book #1 is highly recommended.