Review Blog

Nov 05 2014

The wombats at the zoo by Roland Harvey

cover image

Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319048
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Zoos, Animals, Wombats. The twelve students in a class known as the Wombats go to the zoo with their teachers, Mrs Nott and Miss Anabel. The endpapers show the reader the children's favourite animals with the reasons the animals are so well liked while adding a few extra bits of information such as collective nouns, the scariest animal and their task for the day. Each outline reveals some of the children's characteristics. I particularly liked Ava with her predilecton with the apostrophe, exposing its misuse which will be enlightening for some and hilarious for others.
Harvey's wonderfully detailed illustrations allow the readers to discover the students' personalities, quirks and abilities as they find their way into the exhibits of the animals they like. Double page spreads are devoted to each of the twelve students, with an illustration of their favourite exhibition space for their animal, and funny details of what happens there, along with information about the animal and the students. A list of the information each child collects is given, while now and again, one of the students writes a poem of their experiences.
Reading aloud each page and thoroughly exploring the minutiae of the illustrations will keep readers amused for some time, and along the way learn some interesting facts about the animals, models for their own poetry writing and a few hints about what to do and not to do when going to the zoo.
Fran Knight

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