Tohby Riddle The Great Escape from City Zoo

ISBN 13: 9780374327767

The Great Escape from City Zoo

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9780374327767: The Great Escape from City Zoo

When an anteater, an elephant, a turtle, and a flamingo go over the wall at City Zoo, the adventure begins! Hot on their heels come the Zookeepers, but for this band of escapees the quest for a new life -- a better life -- knows no bounds. Told with the flair of a 1930s Hollywood drama, this clever romp follows the heroic foursome as they take up the fugitive's life among humans. Tohby Riddle's droll, soft-toned images are filled with an array of pop culture references, from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to the Beatles' Abbey Road. As proclaimed by The Horn Book in its "News from Down Under" column, "The result soars straight and true right across age barriers ... Gently clever, exquisitely designed, rich with allusion."

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Review:

Many years ago, in a daring escape still talked of in zoos worldwide, an elephant, an anteater, a turtle, and a flamingo went "over the wall" at the city zoo. This is their story, spun tersely but dramatically in simple language, accompanied by strangely compelling monochromatic illustrations that reference pop culture icons from Edward Hopper's Nighthawks to King Kong. Young children might not be ready for the obvious parallels drawn between prisons and zoos, but the gentle humor and marvelous pictures will draw them into the story. Each of the animals, except the flamingo, is eventually recaptured--the anteater when he faints in front of a taxidermist's, the turtle when he falls on his back in a truck stop and is unable to get up--but their experience as fugitives makes for fun children's reading. No one knows what happened to the flamingo (unconfirmed sightings include a grainy illustration that resembles the loch ness monster) but in the annals of zoo history, he lives on as a symbol of freedom and hope. It's easy to see why this book was short-listed for the Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award. (Click to see a sample spread. Copyright 1997 by Tohby Riddle. With permission of the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux.) (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr

About the Author:

Tohby Riddle lives with his family in Australia, where he is a cartoonist for The Sydney Morning Herald and other publications.

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Tohby Riddle
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