July 2016, Paperback, Review copy
Max and Mia are very excited about their school trip to the zoo. But when they arrive not much is happening; the zebra is asleep, the lions are hiding and they can't even see a monkey. Max and Mia make the best of it - after all, if you look very carefully there is something to see everywhere. Then they fall too far behind everyone else ...and are locked in the zoo at night! What they didn't realise is that midnight is time the zoo comes alive. Flamingos are doing the flamenco, the lions dance till dawn and the pandas have a party.
Visiting a zoo at night is rather special, as Mix and Mia discover. The illustrations aren't my favourite style, hence the grade as a few of the animals freak me out, but they are highy detailed, and readers will spend ages looking at the extraordinary inner covers before the story starts and once it ends (as well as all the images in between the covers). My favourite 'animal' is Mia-s adorable cat backpack! Maybe that's why a certain type of animals let Max and Mia sleep with them.
The vibrancy of the colours matches the children's excitement at ending up stuck at the zoo, which sounds fairly awesome (although no reader should try this for themselves as reality is more dangerous). Plus in the age of headcounts on school trips it would be hard to be left behind. But Max and Mia experience a side of the zoo daytime visitors don't, one that is very bright and has all the animals in the open, rather than hiding when Max and Mia were on their trip.
I remember most animals not hiding when I visited them at wildlife parks (which sounds nicer than a zoo somehow), but some do hide which is frustrating for visitors. We have to remember we are caring for the creatures, so if they want to hide they can, we are here to help protect their welfare.
Another zoo themed read (this time in daylight) is much loved at my local primary school, Poo in the Zoo by Steve Smallman and Ada Grey (Children's, Picture book, 10E/10E)