Monday, 21 May 2012

A review of "Zoe and Beans: The Magic Hoop", written by Chloe Inkpen and illustrated by Mick Inkpen

Hey there, Folks in the Smoke,

   Mike Inkpen brought us the loveable Kipper. Zoe and Beans (a little girl and her dog) are the stars of a new series that he illustrates and his daughter, Chloe, writes.

   This is the duo's third outing. They hunted for Beans' lost favourite toy in "Where is Binky Boo?" and braved the icy Arctic to deliver Zoe's requests to Father Christmas in "Zoe's Christmas List". In this story Zoe uses doggy treats to convince Beans to jump through a hoop. But it's a magical hoop and Beans is converted into a rabbity version of himself. Although this is fun, Zoe is a naturally inquisitive creature and decides that further experimentation is called for - Beans might become something even cooler! 
    So the rabbit becomes a squeaking mouse, the mouse becomes a snap-tastic crocodile and the crocodile becomes an enormous elephant. Disaster - elephantine Beans is now stuck in the hoop - how can he ever get back to his regular self? Zoe thinks he needs to slim down but poor Beans is ravenous and gobbles more doggy treats - so many more that soon he bursts the hoop and happily he is restored to his canine form!

    Both Zoe and Beans are adorable - she's a bit bossy and he's a bit non-plussed, it's a great combination. Mike Inkpen's illustrations are cute and energetic. I love how you can still see Beans in there somewhere, no matter what animal he has become, and Zoe's expressions are priceless. Chloe Inkpen's writing is lovely, she chooses some great words to use - full of action and fun. The size of the text changes occasionally to match the stress and sound required. And there is a great spread where the text winds around like a serpent, as Zoe is chased by a snapping Beans.

     This is a sweet and fun read featuring two charming characters. They've a new adventure coming this summer involving some pants and a trip to the Moon - I'm already imagining the antics!

      Thanks for reading,

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