CARTHEW, Mark (text) Matt Stanton (illus) The Moose is Loose! ABC, 2013 unpaged $24.99 ISBN 9780733331015 SCIS 1621371
Animals for the Kalaboo Zoo are being transported by train when signalman Bruce raises the alarm that the moose has escaped. The problem is compounded when it is realized that many of the other animals have also escaped. Bruce and Mac, the train driver, have to find a way to lure the escapees back onto the train.
Written in rhyme this is a wonderful text for young readers who will be fascinated by the array of animals and the havoc they create. Bold type is used to emphasize important moments in the story or to highlight some of the nouns and verbs contributing to both the dramatic and aural appeal. The written text is complemented by the lively illustrations which are hand drawn then digitally coloured. This combination of techniques creates a bold contemporary style, but allows the creative illustrator to capture the cartoonesque anarchy of the escaped animals with individual character and flair. Moreover, the landscape orientation of the illustrations, with the double page spreads used throughout spilling off the edges, produces a sense of scale broad enough to comfortably accommodate the train, the large collection of animals and the space required for the wild antics to unfold.
The attractive cover, quality gloss paper, bright primary colours and clever use of rhythm and rhyme all combine to make the book attractive to pre-school children. It is a fun filled romp that begs to be read aloud. JN