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

Friday 28 July 2017

Review: The Great Zoo Hullabaloo!

When the zookeepers, Jess and Jack, get to the zoo they discover that it is empty. Where could have all the animals of gone? Being inquisitive young keepers they realise that the animals have left behind a trail of footprints, feathers and scats. Using these clues Jess and Jack split up to search for the animals. 

As Jess leaves she reminds Jack to '...keep an eye out for that rascally rat.' The illustrations show the rat just behind Jess, children will react like those at a child's pantomime where the children call 'He's behind you!' Further into the book the children will be able to find the rat as he pops up on more pages. 

Jess still hasn't found the animals as the sun begins to set. She starts to fret about them. Then she hears a noise coming from a grove of trees. Here author Mark Carthew's speciality in using rhyme, alliteration and onomatopoeia come to the fore 'Hi-hats and horns, hooting and humming, ka-thumping and bumping, drumming and strumming!'  

Jess sees a flare go off and notices feathers leading into the forest, where the hullabaloo is coming from. What is that noise? What is happening? Will Jess find Jack and the animals?

The Great Zoo Hullabaloo! is a wonderful introduction for younger readers on how animal's footprints, feathers and scats can be used to help track them. Mark Carthew's story has included a new range of zoo animals like the meerkat and great green macaw. However, he ensures that familiar animals are present too, like the elephant, snake and the iconic Australian red kangaroo.  

This story is a fabulous collaboration between Mark Carthew and Anil Tortop. Mark loves to play with words and music. In the text he includes a range of instruments and sounds that contribute to the hullabaloo. While Anil's  illustrations increase the noise level in a visual way, as you imagine the sounds of the musical notes, violin and symbols which are not mentioned in the text.

The vibrant illustrations are a treasure to look at and readers will delight in finding the elusive mole and the animals not mentioned in the story's text eg: a moose.  The pictures show fabulous facial expressions on Jess and Jack. The footprints on the endpapers and feathers floating on the breeze add to the story in the most delightful way.

The Great Zoo Hullabaloo! has been shortlisted for the Speech Pathology Australia, Book of the Year Awards 2017 in the category Five to Eight. 

To continue the discoveries in this book see the teacher's notes  provided by Mark Carthew and New Frontier Publishing.

If you would like to read another Mark Carthew story, Kids' Book Review recommends the story The Moose is Loose

More books illustrated by Antil Tortop and reviewed by Kids' Book Review are;
The Leaky StoryDigby and the Yodelayhee… Who? and  Digby’s Moon Mission.

Title: The Great Zoo Hullabaloo!
Author: Mark Carthew
Illustrator: Anil Tortop
Publisher: New Frontier Publishing, $24.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2017
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781925059786
For ages: 2 - 8
Type: Picture Book