REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA
Steve Goes to Carnival by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells, Magabala Books, ISBN 9781925360219
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.
This is a picture book set in Rio — and that’s one reason I was interested in reading this book, because the Olympics are in Rio this year.
Steve is a gorilla who lives at the zoo and he is lonely when Antonio leaves at the end of the day. (Antonio is the zoo keeper and Steve’s best friend. Antonio is also a jazz band member.) Steve escapes from his cage and catches a tram to the city. He travels ‘past the favelas’ and through the carnival streets until he reaches the Blue Jaguar Jazz Club. I liked that the story includes some words in Portuguese. There’s a mini glossary at the back of the book.
The illustrations are very bright and splotchy, which gives the story an energetic feel. As the story moves from the zoo into the streets, the pages get more busy and more colourful to show the carnival mood. My favourite page is the last page, which shows a new day starting in the zoo grounds. I like the illustration style of the animals, and the details on that page.
When I first read Steve Goes to Carnival I was a bit confused, because could a gorilla really take a bus? And why did no-one notice he was a gorilla? Then I thought the adventure might be in Steve’s imagination. Maybe he was imagining joining Antonio at the jazz club because he was lonely in his cage at the zoo. It’s an interesting book to read whether you believe Steve really goes to carnival, or whether you think it’s just in his imagination.
I recommend this book to readers who like books about places that are different, and to children who want to be artists (because of the style of the illustrations).
Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Raymie Nightingale. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!