Joshua Button and Robyn Wells, Steve Goes to Carnival, Magabala Books, July 2016, 56pp., $24.95 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925360219
All eyes have been on Rio for the Olympics and this book offers a glorious glimpse at the colour and joy of the Brazilian seaside city.
Steve is a gorilla who lives at the zoo in Rio de Janeiro. He loves jazz music and his friend Antonio, the zookeeper. One night, when Steve is missing Antonio, he leaves the zoo to look for his friend. Wearing a hat as a disguise, Steve heads to the city and discovers carnival in full swing, along with a new side to his friend Antonio.
This book sings and pulses with the vibrancy of carnival, where dancers and musicians are decked out in elaborate costumes and music, food and fun fill the streets.
It’s a story about friendship, diversity and acceptance, and it shines with the beauty that music can bring to our lives.
A collaboration between artists Joshua Button and Robyn Wells, Steve Goes to Carnival is inspired by Button’s fascination with 1970s Brazil.
Richly layered illustrations with loose lines and bold colours invite younger readers into Steve’s world and take them on a journey through a different culture. It’s also a wonderful opportunity to discuss language as the evocative prose leads the reader from the lazy, sweltering afternoon of the zoo to the dynamic and sparkling allure of the night-time carnival atmosphere.
Reviewed by Penny Harrison