Friday, 24 May 2013

ReadItDaddy's Book(s) of the Week - Week Ending 24th May 2013 - "64 Zoo Lane Zed the Zebra / Georgina the Giraffe" by An Vrombaut (Hodder Children's Books)

At ReadItDaddy Towers we don't really get a lot of time to watch TV but when Charlotte was a tiny tiddler, the lure of CBeebies was too tempting at times (particularly on 'stay at home daddy days' when I needed to cook, do a pile of washing, and make sure C wasn't getting up to mischief!)

Most parents will know the theme tune to 64 Zoo Lane as soon as they hear those opening bars, and the children's singing voices. It could drive you quietly mad but there's something very soothing about it, actually!

So here we are then, looking at Hodder's fantastic reprints of An Vrombaut's 64 Zoo Lane stories and it's testament to how great these books are, that you could live in complete ignorance of the show and still absolutely love these stories to bits.

An's eye for great animal characters comes to the fore in the two stories we read. Georgina the Giraffe (the rather splendid 'slide' that Lucy, the main character in the 64 Zoo Lane stories, uses every night to get into the zoo she lives next door to) and Zed the Zebra are just two of the range of stories now being reprinted (we also utterly and completely love Snowbert the Polar Bear - which gives me a great excuse to read stories in my mock swedish accent).

In 'Georgina the Giraffe' we find out what happens when poor Georgina gets rather over-excited one day and ends up with a painful knot in her neck. What on earth can she do? Luckily the two cheeky monkeys know a mysterious character who is a dab hand at untying knots.

In 'Zed the Zebra', the rather show-offy Zed is brought down a peg or two when he challenges all the other animals to a race. He thinks he's the fastest runner on the Savannah, but like the hare in the famous 'hare and tortoise' fable, he brags and boasts of an easy win all too soon, and realises that friendship and teamwork are far more important than showing off.

Both books are beautifully written, illustrated and presented (and if you never quite got the hang of the 64 Zoo Lane song, the lyrics are thoughtfully printed at the back of the book for you to sing along with!)

Surprisingly, I thought these books might be a bit too 'young' for Charlotte but she loved both stories and demanded them again and again. They are brilliant and it's good to see them being reissued for a whole new audience to enjoy.

Charlotte's best bit: In 'Georgina the Giraffe' - Tracing Georgina's long windy neck as she stretches and twists (and ends up in a knot, eek!)

Daddy's favourite bit: Zed the Zebra's go faster stripes! Whizz Bang!

(Kindly sent to us for review by Hodder Children's Books)