Zoo Girl ISBN: 9780745962702
Published by Lion Hudson Plc, 2011
The little girl is very unhappy. She lives in a children's home where the other children seem jolly and integrated, but she is lonely and desperately wants a family. The children's home is certainly institutional-looking, but the carer is concerned about the little girl, and there is no suggestion of mistreatment. On a visit to the zoo, the little girl finds herself feeling right at home, and when she is inadvertantly left behind, the animals befriend her and there follows an ecstatic playtime with them. When she falls asleep with the tiger family, she is found by the zoo keepers, a couple with no children, and they adopt her. She has her family - not only a mum and dad, but all the animals as well. When I say that the story is told with only 19 words, it should be apparent that the pictures say it all. Rebecca Elliott is a remarkable illustrator. Not only are the animals and people drawn with real emotion and understanding, but the backgrounds are full of interest. Lots of curlicues and geometric patterns are reminiscent of blackwork embroidery, and even the sky has faint designs. This is a stunning book, and one rejoices with the little girl's happy ending, knowing she has found her place, albeit it an unusual one.