Pandamonium by Dan Crisp and Mark Chambers

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Pandamonium by Dan Crisp and Mark Chambers

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Jo Heffer
Reviewed by Jo Heffer
Summary: Zoos are generally well ordered places with all of the animals kept apart in their separate enclosures. However, have you ever wondered what would happen though, if while the zoo keeper was sleeping, a cheeky octopus would steal his keys and let all of the animals out? It is quite likely that 'Pandamonium' would ensue!
Buy? # Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2011
Publisher: Top That!
ISBN: 978-1849563024

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At the start of 'Pandamonium' by Dan Crisp and Mark Chambers, everything is very quiet at the zoo. In fact, it is so quiet that the zoo keeper is taking the opportunity to put his feet up and to have forty winks. Once the octopus spots this though, he reaches over with one of his long tentacles and borrows the keys that have been left on the table. Before long, he has opened all the cages and freed the animals who decide that it is time to have a party. Soon there is a lot of noise and partying but somehow the zoo keeper manages to sleep through it all. That is until the skunk disgraces himself by making an extremely nasty pong to all of the animals' eyes. It even rouses the zoo keeper who surprisingly does not realise that all of animals have been out partying because the awful smell has made them all return to their cages. As far as he is concerned, it's just another quiet night at the zoo.

This is an amusing tale that is likely to appeal to most small children's senses of humour. The idea of the nasty pong particularly appealed to my six year old daughter. There is also an interesting array of animals that get up to all sorts of antics. My daughter also liked the fact that at the end of the story, the zoo keeper remained blissfully unaware that anything unusual had been occurring in the zoo. We also enjoyed the entertaining illustrations, especially the ones of pandas dancing and towards the end, an elephant who has tied his trunk in a knot in order to avoid the skunk's stink.

The text is quite straightforward with not too many words on any page, making it ideal for new and emerging readers to have a go, as well as for sharing with younger children. The entire story is written in rhyme and, although I generally appreciate this, I don't think that it works particularly well with this story. Some of the lines are awkward and difficult to scan, which makes it feel less fluid when you are reading the story aloud. This is a shame as the idea behind the story is such fun, and I feel it could easily have been written successfully in prose. It is by no means terrible, but it just does not work for me in this story.

Having said that though, 'Pandamonium' is still a sweet and funny story and one that I am sure that small children will enjoy many times. Also, why not take a look at Hullabaloo by Gordon Volke and Fenix which is also about animals causing mayhem at a zoo. You might also enjoy Hungry Roscoe by David J Plant.

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Buy Pandamonium by Dan Crisp and Mark Chambers at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Pandamonium by Dan Crisp and Mark Chambers at


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