A Very Strange Zoo

Children - Picture Book
16 Pages
Reviewed on 06/08/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Writing has been a part of Chris Stead’s life since he was very young. In fact, he won the “creative writing” award way back in Year 3 at school as a seven-year-old. During his senior school years, Chris wrote constantly, be it stories while he was sitting at his desk in class not concentrating on the teacher, or writing up news reports on all the sports and experiences the kids in his local neighbourhood enjoyed every day.
Fast forward a little and Chris’ media career could only be described as diverse. Spanning publications and clients as broad as Maxim Men’s Magazine to the University of NSW to Game Informer Australia and Krash Kids Magazine he has spent 20+ years writing and editing across the Australian media industry.
In 2014, Chris launched a new chapter in his writing life. He founded his own company, Old Mate Media, and launched the first of a range of children’s books in The Wild Imagination of Willy Nilly series. Chris’s vision for the company is that other aspiring writers who would like to create their own digital and print publications – no matter what the topic – will enlist Old Mate Media to help them turn their dream into a reality.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Barbara Fanson for Readers' Favorite

A Very Strange Zoo is an ingenious, magical tale of an inventor who creates animals by recycling household items. After they get hit by lightning, the animals come to life and build their own homes and villages. Author Chris Stead has written a fun, imaginative story that children and parents will enjoy reading. The crazy young inventor in the story invents all sorts of strange things like a boat with wings that can fly or a pail with legs—but none of them work. Then he builds some weird animals to keep him company. But, he made too much noise and everyone moved away. What kind of animals could one make by using items around the house? Perhaps a mop could become a lion’s mane and a funnel be turned into a snout. If you turn a boot over, does it look like an animal head? I like the music created by saying the words “Bing! Bang! Boom! Zoom! Zip! Rip! Roar!” You can almost hear the noise of these rhyming alliterations.

Illustrator Antonela Cárpena has created wonderful, whimsical watercolor illustrations with rich brown and beige tones for A Very Strange Zoo. How much fun the illustrator must have had turning author Chris Stead’s imaginative story into a picture book! Illustrator Cárpena’s picture of the storm on page 9 uses a lot of contrast and extreme color variations. Can you imagine seeing these handmade animals come to life? I wish I could visit the island in A Very Strange Zoo to see these strange-looking animals for myself!