Title: This Zoo is Not for You
Written and Illustrated by Ross Collins
Published by Nosy Crow (U.K.) and Allen and Unwin (Australia)
RRP: $19.99 (AUD)

In rhyming text, this delightful picture book is about a platypus visiting the zoo. He is there to deliver something special, but the animals think he is there for an interview to join their zoo. Every animal gives their verdict as to why the platypus cannot join and he leaves. When they find his discarded delivery they rush to find him, to apologise for their manner and become friends.

Many aspects of this large format book make it perfect for a young audience. The uncluttered pages with no borders invite the reader, while the format of text on the left hand side and illustrations across the double pages is repeated, allowing a secure reading environment for little ones. This changes after two pages of wordless visual text in which the animals solve their dilemma. The visual and verbal texts work wonderfully together. This allows read-aloud fun, discussing how the animals are feeling, why the platypus left, and what the young audience might do in this situation.

The read-aloud qualities of this book cannot be underestimated. When I first read the book, to myself and not aloud, as most people do, I thought it was a little clunky. Reading it aloud made so much difference and reminded me of the importance to not judge a book for young ones on one silent reading. The rhyming and timing of the verbal text is brilliant and the pauses with the wordless double page spreads offers audience participation. The resolution and ending are short and uplifting, and really present themselves when read aloud.

This book is not to be missed. It is perfect for story time sessions and lap reads and will be read again and again.

Many thanks to Allen and Unwin for supplying this book for review.