Thursday, April 05, 2018


Zucchini. Barbara Dana. 1982. 160 pages. [Source: Childhood Copy]

First sentence: Zucchini was born in the rodent house at the Bronx Zoo. When he was six weeks old, the rodent man put him in a cage of his own, separating him from his mother. It was time for him to be independent.

Premise/plot: Zucchini is a black-footed ferret who longs for freedom and a home of his own choosing. Will he get his happily ever after? Billy is a young boy, a shy boy, who needs to find his own place to belong.

My thoughts: I have a love/hate relationship with animal fantasy. I was hoping that Zucchini would not be another Stuart Little. I wanted--needed--a good, solid ending that had a point. I was satisfied with both stories.
Billy had always been shy. At least that's the way it had been for as long as he could remember. Sometimes, when he had nothing better to do, he would try and figure out what it was that had started the shyness, or when it was that it started, but he couldn't remember. His teachers at school said it was because Billy's parents were divorced. They had been divorced two years, and Billy lived with his mother and stepfather. His real father was an actor in Los Angeles, California, and Billy didn't get to see him very much.
It's hard getting used to a stepfather," Billy's teachers would say. "That's why William is withdrawn."
Billy didn't like being called William, and he didn't think his teachers were right, not completely right anyway. He remembered always liking to be quiet. Even as a tiny boy there was so much to look at and listen to, so much to understand. Too much talking got in the way. (42)
I love how Billy's love for Zucchini pushes him out of his comfort zone and he learns that he can be okay, that he can talk to strangers, that he can speak up and speak out. I love how friendship changes Zucchini and he realizes that some things are more important than independence. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Suko said...

This sounds like a darling story. I love the name Zucchini.

Katie @ Read-at-Home Mom said...

I just read this a couple of weeks ago! I had never heard of it, but needed a book beginning with Z for a reading challenge, and it was on Open Library. I also have a love/hate relationship with animal fantasy, but I ended up enoying this one.