Midnight at the Zoo

Faye Hanson. Templar, $16.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8908-7
Hanson’s (The Wonder) eclectic, romantic style—it’s like she’s the Vivienne Westwood of children’s literature—gets a workout in this story of a magical overnight escapade. When Max, Mia, and their classmates arrive at the zoo for a much-anticipated field trip, the animals are hidden away (“not the flick of a tail or swish of a whisker can be seen”) though sharp-eyed readers will spot signs of life, such as a lemur tail hanging from a tree. Disappointed, the group departs, accidentally leaving Max and Mia behind to discover that the zoo turns into a fabulous, if not downright campy masquerade party at midnight. As Hanson’s narrative switches to alliterative rhyme, flamingos and hippos dress up in feathery and glittering outfits straight from a Busby Berkeley musical, bears in elaborate headdresses parade through Japanese pagodas, and Max and Mia are in the thick of it all. Hanson isn’t a quick visual read—her decorative style and expansive, detail-laden scenes demand focus from readers. But for those willing to expend the effort, the rewards are both satisfying and stylish. Ages 3–7. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2017
Release date: 06/06/2017
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