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Apr/May 2005 Book Reviews

Moon Zoo

Carol Ann Duffy
Illustrated by Joel Stewart
Macmillan (2005) 14 pages
ISBN: 1 405020490

reviewed by Ann Skea


Moon Zoo is a delight.

Carol Ann Duffy's humour, her empathy with small children, and her versatility as a poet provide exactly the right words to stir the imagination. And Joel Stewart's colourful, funny, and very attractive illustrations make this book as much fun to look at as it is to read.

Mr four-year-old, in my family, found the idea of moon baboons flashing their bottoms at the human race suitably rude and hilarious. His six-year-old brother listened and grinned, and he tried to pretend he was too old for this kid's stuff—but he wasn't really.

Carol Ann Duffy, like Ted Hughes before her, clearly believes that children's poetry is important and that they deserve the best. And rightly so, for how else can we foster the imagination, fun, and delight which our children need to sustain them as they grow older?

Moon Zoo gives children a wonderful new world to explore. The zoo-keeper is an eight-armed alien who clanks her buckets along the Milky Way. The penguins float about playfully in the Sea of Tranquility. Polar bears, hippos and elephants are airborne in zero gravity. And spacecraft zoom around them all. There are even some strange, nameless creatures lurking behind rocks or peering over the edges of pages.

Words and pictures—perfect food for the imagination. And not just for the kids, either!

 

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