Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo
Puffin Books, 2020
5-8yrs, Lower Primary, Primary
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- New South Wales
- Parent and child
‘Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo’ is an engaging story for early readers that explores the relationship between two young children as they spend a day helping out at the zoo. The book begins with a map showing the place in which this story is set––Dubbo in New South Wales––and introducing the two main characters. A postcard also invites readers into the story.
The animation-style illustrations feature grey and white images with bright orange highlights. They are presented in a mix of vignettes and full-page images that are expressive, interactive and appealing. This chapter book is clearly aimed at a junior audience, with short, direct sentences, lots of child appeal and a non-gender stereotyped and ethnically diverse approach.
The story centres around Zoe and her best friend Zac––her ‘almost twin’, as they are both born around the same time. Their treat for their seventh birthdays is a day at the zoo helping Zoe’s mum, the Head Zookeeper, look after the animals. As well as feeding and cleaning up after meerkats, giraffes and elephants, the children experience a very special event when one of the lionesses gives birth. Fun facts about the featured animals are included at the back of the book, as well as information about what inspired the author and the illustrator to create this entertaining and engaging story.
Author Belinda Murrell grew up in a veterinary hospital and is the author of many successful series for children. Illustrator David Hardy is an Indigenous artist who has worked on film animation for Disney Animation Studios, as well as illustrating children’s books for Magabala Books.
‘Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo’ is the first book in the Aussie Kids series of easy-reading titles featuring children from each Australian state and territory and from different ethnic backgrounds.
Series: Aussie Kids: no 1
- Penguin Books Australia. Teachers’ Resources. ‘Aussie Kids: Meet Zoe and Zac at the Zoo. Belinda Murrell and David Hardy.’ https://www.lamontbooks.com.au/media/171437/publishers-notes-aussie-kids-meet-zoe-and-zac-at-the-zoo.pdf
- Penguin Books Australia. ‘At Home Lesson: Living in the best places with Aussie Kids.’ https://www.penguin.com.au/activities/2644-at-home-lesson-living-in-the-best-places-with-aussie-kids
- Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGenDE0FXSE
- Taronga ‘Western Plains Zoo’ Dubbo https://taronga.org.au/dubbo-zoo