A lovely collection of short stories penned by a father, Rolando Garcia’s The Sun Zebra is sweet, interesting, soothing and fun. Where another adult might feel too old or too serious to play, this father sits down among the toys, runs around the playground, and allows his imagination to delight in his daughter’s mysteries. Can there really be a zebra on the farm? He’s willing to look—well, willing might be a strong word for it but he knows it’s probably his turn. Mother, father and daughter form a perfectly ordinary family, made extraordinary by the light of the author’s pen and the generous spirit of a parent’s words.
Refreshing, told in an honest self-deprecating voice, with pleasing reminiscences of the author's own childhood interspersed in present experience, this collection of five short tales is easy to pick up, hard to put down, and as bright and lively as sunshine falling on flowers. The dialog’s natural, the childhood mysteries are genuine, and the writing’s beautifully lyrical. Plus each story really does have a gentle surprise in its tail, and there really might be zebras on the farm if we look for them.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this book from the author and promised an honest review. I’m just sorry it took me so long.
“All well-crafted short stories should strive to make a single emotional impact on the reader. On that count, The Sun Zebra delivers. Rolando Garcia’s collection of five stories offers endearing glimpses into the little moments that can impart lasting life lessons when seen through the eyes of a child. Love is what connects and binds us to each other in this thing called life and in Garcia’s touching stories.
The title story not only effectively communicates a child-like sense of wonder, it also contains excellent imagery. “Bob the Intrepid Insectnaut” manages to combine sorrow and humor effectively, although the father’s narrative voice feels too intrusive at times. The premise of “Raven-Lenore” intrigues with its interplay between Poe’s famous poem and daughter Nell’s squirrely counterpart, but the structure needs tweaking. “The Meaningless Christmas Tree” achieves effective characterization with the old man and his ugly tree and demonstrates the author can also deftly render intriguing adult characters. Finally, “Birdman and the Fairy Tale” showcases the author’s knack for illustrating how a child can mull a moment over in their mind and how adults can learn a lot from their children.
Rolando Garcia’s storytelling gift lies in beautifully communicated thematic elements. As a fellow lover of the short story form, I am happily anticipating further work from this author. As a perpetual student and teacher of the craft of the genre, I would recommend more showing and less telling, adding more dialogue, and heightening setting details. It will be interesting to see where his story-telling journey takes him.
JeriWB.com Teacher Writer Traveler”
“free kindle book -- nice stories ”mary3mm wrote this review Friday, April 20, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“It is difficult for me to decide which of the five stories in this collection I like best because each is charming, original, and filled with a gentle humor and each is about the little girl Nell, her loving mother Rhonda, and her thoughtful father, the narrator. The stories are for adults and for children but they are not stories with the magic of fairy tales or Harry Potter adventures. They contain another and equally wonderful magic, that of reality, specifically, nature. In “The Sun Zebra,” we view an old horse in a new way; in “Bob the Intrepid Insectnaut,” we meet a special cicada named Bob; and, in “Raven-Lenore,” we are introduced to a chubby squirrel that Poe himself might have been amused by.”Barbara Alfaro wrote this review Thursday, March 22, 2012. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No