Book Size: 8.6" x 10.8"

Pages: 36

Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781623717452

Imprint: Crocodile Books

Illustrated by: Marta Bartolj

Illustrations: Full-color illustrations

Ages: 4-8

Release date: Fall 2023


Zebra in the Mirror

By • Illustrated by Marta Bartolj

$ 18.95

About this book

A beautifully-illustrated picture book that tackles themes of self-confidence and body neutrality.

A zebra is looking at her reflection in the lake. At first, she is unhappy with what she sees. Her ears are big and hairy; her legs are too long; and her stripes look silly. But then, she realizes that her body has an important function. Her ears allow her to hear distant sounds; her legs enable her to outrun danger; and her stripes make her unlike any other animal on the savannah. Soon, she is proud of what she sees.

This picture book offers an excellent starting point for conversations with children about body image. Offering multiple perspectives, Zebra in the Mirror can be read from front to back or from back to front, showing how self-confidence can come from within. Marta Bartolj's stunning illustrations masterly depict a whole range of emotions that the zebra encounters while looking at herself in the water mirror.


About the author

Tina Arnuš Pupis embarked on her writing career in 2016 by participating in the Spirala Writing Contest. Her debut work titled In a Faraway Forest was published shortly after and was included in the White Ravens Collection by the International Youth Library in Munich. She has since written several books for children. She loves nature, animals, rhymes, word games and inspirational words of wisdoms spiced up with a touch of humour. And what she loves most is to combine all this in her literary works.  

Marta Bartolj is an award-winning Slovenian illustrator. Her first book was published as ‘Kje si?’ (‘Where Are You?’ / ‘Every Little Kindness’) in 2018, and received a special prize as an outstanding wordless picture book at the 2018 Kristina Brenkova Awards. The style of her illustrations is distinctively diverse, from playful and childlike to gentle lyricism. 


“Mirrors, throughout literature, are omens and traps. They are soft enough to walk through, like mist; they are riddles that shatter upon reflection; they are magic. And what they reflect back may not have anything to do with us, or if it does have to do with us it’s the hide to our seek … On the cover of Zebra in the Mirror (Crocodile Books, 36 pp., $18.95, ages 4 to 8), written by Tina Arnuš Pupis and illustrated by Marta Bartolj, a bright sun’s center cheerfully exclaims, ‘Read this book from front to back or back to front!’ What at first feels like a magic trick, or a two-for-one, reveals itself to be a potential palindrome broken by an existential crisis. When read from front to back, the book imparts an essential message about being kind to your reflection. When read from back to front, the sky gradually darkens and the story ends with Zebra staring into still waters that reflect an animal she cannot seem to love, reminding us that self-acceptance is not a straight line but a ruminative spiral. Each page is dappled with black ink, as if Zebra’s stripes have permeated the air of the grasslands she grazes, because don’t landscapes reflect the beings that inhabit them?”

–Sabrina Orah Mark, New York Times


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