If a Book Were a Song #4 ‘The Alien Zoo … And you!’ by Adrian Beck & Heath McKenzie

If a Book Were a Song #4 ‘The Alien Zoo … And you!’ by Adrian Beck & Heath McKenzie

If a Book Were A Song #4

THE ALIEN ZOO … AND YOU! by Adrian Beck & Heath McKenzie (Affirm Press, 2017)

Squabbling twins, Ben and Jen, discover their late grandfather has left them in charge of something he has kept secret his entire life – an alien zoo! What ensues is a hilarious, action-filled adventure in which the twins try to learn how to manage the zoo, while at the same time falling in love with its bizarre inhabitants. Battling the ugly Sneed sisters and racing the clock, Ben and Jen are desperate to learn the ropes of the zoo before it is too late. Can they save it in time?

‘The Alien Zoo … And You’ is a wonderfully fun read, with Adrian Beck’s quirky humour seeping into each page. I really enjoyed the layering of the humour – many of the jokes are subtle enough to make you re-read the punchline, while others have you laughing out loud and quickly moving on to the next. This humour, mixed with an incredibly generous amount of fun illustrations by Heath McKenzie, creates a story that can be read in quick time. This is something that will appeal to reluctant readers.

As the title suggests, the reader is brought into the book. Beck and McKenzie have developed a highly interactive book that will have the reader folding pages, squinting, drawing in blank spaces, holding the book to the light, and cracking puzzles. Kudos to Heath McKenzie for including such a complex range of visual effects that give this interactivity a real punch. Check out Adrian Beck’s Twitter feed, which has a few hilarious threads of readers giving their take on the mysterious zoctoid alien – https://twitter.com/AdrianBeckBooks (you may even just spot my zoctoid!)

‘The Alien Zoo … And You’ is perfect for middle primary reluctant readers. Writing in this genre, I found it a real treat to read.


Quirky. Surprising. Interactive. Strange (creatures).

‘I Will Survive’ – Alien Song




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