Me and Kid1 have been enjoying Ross Collins’ There’s a Bear On My Chair so much that I treated us to This Zoo is Not For You, and it did not disappoint!
Platypus turns up at the zoo with an envelope on interview day. Thinking he wants to join the zoo, a series of rather snobby animals interview him and declare ‘this zoo is not for you’, until he gives up and leaves. Some self-examination follows: ‘I think I was unkind, were you?’ and the animals’ guilt is compounded when they discover the envelope and realise that platypus had actually come to invite them to a party. Luckily, platypus accepts their apology and a great time is had by all.
While the concept of an interview took a bit of explaining, Kid1 really enjoys this book. The rhyming text has pace and humour, and conveys the animals’ condescension perfectly, while Collins’ illustrations are expressive and funny. Platypus doesn’t get a word in till the end of the book (and when he does, it doesn’t rhyme, which I really like - he is not the same as the zoo animals), which may resonate with children who sometimes are not heard by grown ups. The animals’ exclusion of the platypus will also chime with children’s worry about being left out. It also gives a chance to talk about kindness, assumptions and apologies.
The party page at the end of the book is joyous and full of great details - plenty to look at and talk about. A great book. .
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