Zoo house by Heath McKenzie

cover image

Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742767628
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Zoos, Animals, Housework, Humour. When Oscar gets out of bed in the morning, he steps upon a snake. Undeterred he goes to the loo where he finds a gorilla or two, but on the stairs is a pair of brown bears. In the kitchen he finds baboons and chimps, while the bathroom is crammed with an elephant, rhinoceros and hippopotamus. What is going on, children will ask, but turning the page the reader will find a frazzled mum trying to keep the housework up to scratch with all these visitors.
McKenzie presents a dilemma in this uproariously funny verse story of how a house becomes a zoo, and how mum tries to turn things around so that everyone helps with the chores. She calls a halt to doing all the work herself, and writes up a chart with everyone's name on it and the chore they must do. Each animal is quite prepared to help, but the results are not quite what everyone expected.
Children will laugh out loud at the things the animals do in the house and their attempts at doing housework. Small moments of humour abound an readers will love following the antics of each, watching how the other children and dad behave along the way. Among the funny digitally executed illustrations, full of movement and humour, eager readers will find eleven koalas hidden within the pages.
All children will have great fun with this book, recognising the various animals and their incarnation within the pages, predicting the rhyme on each page, following the antics of each animal and checking out all the chores that are needed to keep a house going. The funny illustrations beg to be pored over and some readers may try their own hand at drawing an animal in the McKenzie style. I loved the endpapers with their paw prints, adding another level of research for readers, working out which print belongs to which animal.
Fran Knight