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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
Goo and Spot in the Great Zoo Escape is written by Elsa Takaoka and illustrated by Catherine Toennisson and tells the story of a little boy named Goo and his dog Spot. They decide to visit the zoo where they meet Snake, who has been planning a grand escape. Snakes are Goo’s favourite animal at the zoo. What Goo doesn’t realise is that Snake has been planning his grand escape all week. After enlisting the help of the other animals, he manages to hide in Goo’s backpack and is taken home to where Goo and Spot live. Goo keeps Snake’s presence a secret and soon Goo, Spot and Snake are snuggled in for the night. The trouble is, Snake starts to feel lonely and wants to return to the zoo and all his friends there. Maybe his efforts to escape have been for nothing.
This beautifully illustrated book is told in rhyme which flows well and has the reader eager to turn the pages. The author, Elsa Takaoka, has created a lovely story which is not just about a snake escaping from a zoo. It’s also about being happy and appreciating where you are and the friends and family you have around you. Snake, for example, thought his life would be far more exciting away from the zoo, only to find out he longed for his friends and his zoo life. So the subtle moral of the story is to be content and not be beguiled into thinking life might be better somewhere else. The colourful illustrations will catch a young reader’s eye whilst a parent can read the story out loud and then explain why Snake was so unhappy. A lovely book that children will want to read again and again.