'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Review: The Great Escape from City Zoo

Things at City Zoo become shady when ant eater, elephant, turtle and flamingo skip incarceration and flee to the fringes of life – as fugitives.

Tohby Riddle’s stunning monochromatic illustrations prove a solid point – that children’s books do not have to be flashing like neon candy to attract and charm children.

The storyline, likewise, has a sophistication that clearly demonstrates children are far wiser and far more capable of understanding, and enjoying, words and plots that belie their years. It absolutely grates at me when children are spoken down to or too quickly compensated when it comes to books and language.

Written like a screenplay for a 1950s detective mystery, this gorgeous and very witty book follows the adventures and misadventures of these brazen zoo escapees, as they attempt to assimilate into the real world - complete with delightful reference to music, film and art that may escape the kiddies until they're a little older - but will certainly have the adults smiling.

Special mention: A Children’s Book Council of Australia Short-Listed Book for Picture Book of the Year

Title: The Great Escape from City Zoo
Author/Illustrator: Tohby Riddle
Publisher: Puffin
Publication date: 1 December 2007
Format: Softcover
ISBN: 9780099978701
For ages: 4 -10
Type: Picture Book