Review published on May 14, 2018.
One hour long, if you know Campbell’s books you’ll find the text extended from several of his board/novelty books. From Dear Zoo itself, to Oh Dear (Buster searching for eggs on a farm), to Oh Kitty (a lost cat), Buster’s Birthday (a new boy opens presents at his party) and Little Bird (the internal book Buster gets from Mummy and Daddy) are interspersed with rhymes, songs, animal noises and a narrator talking to a listening child.
The dramatized stories are lengthened with care, with simple language that extends and embellishes the stories to aid understanding and give context, staying very true to the text and tone of Campbell’s originals, and the additions are great. My 7-year-old listened over mealtimes with me, and we learned the Dear Zoo song instantly. We decided his little brother (13 months old) isn’t quite ready for this yet, despite enjoying reading these books with me already: I would suggest age 2-3 will be the right age for a listener to concentrate on and understand this audiobook.
Weyman has a very friendly and clear voice for a child listener, and speaks at an appropriate pace for a young child. I did enjoy the longer stories, though I did end up feeling sorry for all the returned animals in Dear Zoo, especially the grumpy camel, who I felt may have had a good reason for being grumpy and just needed a kind owner… but that’s just me.
I would have liked this to go on for longer, for more stories to be included – it’s very short really at 60 minutes, and you can’t read along with the originals while listening (as is often possible with children’s audiobooks) but this is a great addition to a child familiar with Campbell’s books, for car journeys, in our family.
This will be ready for my littlest once he’s a little older, well put-together and some classic stories.
Katy Noyes 5/1
Dear Zoo and Friends by Rod Campbell
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