Huberta's big surprise by Klay and Mark Lamrpell
Illus. by Marjorie Crosby-Fairall. Scholastic, 2020. ISBN:
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Huberta loves to spring surprises on the other animals at her zoo. Often they are surprised but also a little put out by her antics. One day the zookeeper announces that she has been invited to another zoo to visit. The truck that pulls into the zoo to take her on her visit arrives, but cannot start. Huberta is undeterred and announces that she will make her own way there. So she catches a bus, sitting next to a young girl with blue hair. When she alights from the Number One bus, she catches the Second tram to the wharf to catch the ferry. She talks to the three pirates on board, eats four flowers in the park, takes the escalator to platform five and catches metro six to the airport, sitting with seven passengers. She sits in row eight and then on the way to the zoo, sees nine hot air balloons in the sky. There are ten animals waiting to greet her, but she has a big surprise for them, something quite unexpected.
Digitally illustrated the animals leap from each page, encouraging younger readers to recognise and name them, counting as they turn each page. What child could resist following Huberta's antics as she splashes, jumps, pogo sticks, laughs and surprises all the animals in turn. They will enjoy her interactions with others on the forms of transport she uses though the story, and watch as she seems to collect things along the way. She sees a range of people and animals on her journey, and the story underlines the behaviour expected on forms of transport children might use with their parents or teachers.
For classes discussing different modes of transport, this book will easily fill a niche, and for sheer good fun, it is a playful read.
Themes: Animals, Zoos, Transport, Humour.