Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen

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Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Trish Simpson-Davis
Reviewed by Trish Simpson-Davis
Summary: Master illustrator Mick Inkpen teams up with his daughter Chloe to bring us this attractive and lay-back pet-themed book. Good for young children to hear at bedtime and for new readers to flex their skills.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: April 2013
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1447210269

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Zoe and her dog, Beans, are in the garden when Beans sniffs out a guinea pig. Fortunately Beans is a very unaggressive-looking dog who seems unlikely to finish off any small rodent in one excited bite. His curiosity allows the story to accumulate an ever-more exciting set of roaming pets for Zoe to discover, including, surprisingly, a chameleon. By the time Zoe gets to shouting out her name to a parrot, who insists on calling her Oscar, Beans has disappeared through a hole in the fence. That’s when Oscar, the owner of all these wonderful animals, crawls backwards through the fence and how the friends meet, so I’m guessing this is the first of a series of stories featuring Zoe and Oscar.

The book’s illustrations are lovely; particularly, the cover has the characters in shiny relief which just cries out to be stroked by a young reader. Zoe and Oscar appear as warm-hearted and cute. The small scale of the children to the relatively large size of the animals is nicely accurate to a tiny child’s perceptions of animals. Beans seems huge by comparison with Zoe, so unless he’s an Irish wolfhound, I put her as very young indeed, maybe two or three. She’s slightly wacky, with the quick mood changes from confidence to diffidence to frustration of any toddler. Oscar seems older, though still probably under five, a steady and knowledgeable boy Zoe will be able to learn from.

The animals are gorgeous, each and every one of them covetable as the most desirable pet ever. The story is a reassuring device to develop some ideas about owning an animal. Sadly, I never managed to find the adorable hamster from the front cover, inside the book, and I suddenly spotted a duck later on. I can only think that Oscar was very careless in looking after his pets!

I can see this happy and undemanding book being enjoyed by two and three year olds. However, it’s universal enough to appeal to beginners with a reading age of around six. They may not know vocabulary like chameleon, but the interest value of the illustrations will keep them on track and likely learning several new words from the text to boot.

My only gripe is that I didn’t think Zoe was at all likely to be Googling about pet food in her own right – not until she was sixish, anyway.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending this book.

If you don’t already know Mike Inkpen’s work, you might like to check out three titles with a similar interest level which are well worth a read: Baggy Brown by Mick Inkpen ; Zoe and Beans: Where Is Binky Boo? by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen both featuring toys, and the self-evident: We Are Wearing Out The Naughty Step by Mick Inkpen.

Buy Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Zoe and Beans: Hello Oscar by Chloe Inkpen and Mick Inkpen at Amazon.com.


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