An important story about pollution, consumerism and the dangers of extinction, this picture book turns the usual plot about the extinction of animals into one about humans being the ones who may disappear from earth. As such, it is chilling at the end, but very thought-provoking for older children. The elephant family is enjoying spraying each other with water on a hot afternoon, when the children ask if they can visit Human Town. This is a zoo in reverse, wherein all the occupants are humans, but we learn there are fewer of them now. When the family arrive, they are greeted at the gates with a set of rules, the usual sorts of things at zoos, but with a twist – no touching or feeding the humans, keep to paths, no trampling of structures, and – last – ‘the hunting and eating of human beings is strictly prohibited.’ The last is a rule the big cats don’t keep to, which is why the humans are disappearing. Dad also warns Junior and Lulu that they mustn’t get close to humans because they can be ‘dangerous and unpredictable’. Inside the zoo, they find shops where humans are buying far more than they need, including meat, which the family finds disgusting. Dad says, ‘They’re wild animals’ so we shouldn’t ‘judge them’. They find a stream full of smelly rubbish, and a car with ‘smoke coming out of its bottom’, they see a church, a cinema, and a school with no one in them, and the people look unhappy and sometimes fight in the streets. Peeking through a window, they see a little girl with far too many things around her on the floor, watching TV. Altogether, it’s rather a sad afternoon, and the family come home chastened. The final two pages show a sign on the gate of Human Town saying, Permanently Closed Due to Extinction, and we see a bleak Junior saying, ‘I hope that doesn’t happen to us’ The illustrations are super, and the reversal of roles all to believable. An original and significant story.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Angie Hill http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Angie Hill2022-05-20 08:00:582022-05-20 08:01:42Human Town
Illustrator: Anna Doherty