I read the word in a children book,
What is a "zip-zap"? Where did the word come from?
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The picture isn't what is generally known as a zip-zap. The picture shows a Catherine Wheel.
A zip-zap comprises a number of projectiles which are launched in sequence, in a fan-shape from left to right and back again. Here's one of 35 shots, and video of it in action.
I guess the name comes from the reciprocating nature of the display.