Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Quentin Blake's Zagazoo

Quentin Blake illustrated Roald Dahl books so well that it is hard for me to separate him from Roald Dahl in my head. Zagazoo is a book Blake wrote in his own right, but there are elements of Roald Dahl's zany humor. 

This is Quentin Blake's hilarious and clever view of parenthood. The first time I read it, flipping though it quickly at (guess where I got this!!!!) the library sale, I was a little unsure of the point, but suddenly, it all came clear. And then there was such a sense of recognition that this is now a must have book for me.  

A superb book for any parent.

George and Bella were a happy couple. One day the postman delivered an odd looking parcel.

Inside was a baby, with a tag saying "It's name is Zagazoo." 

George and Bella had a lot of fun with Zagazoo, throwing him around. 


One morning, Zagazoo had changed into a screeching baby vulture. I believe this would be the nurse-me-round-the-clock-or-else-I-will-scream-non-stop stage that sets in at any time the first year. 

Then a bumbling toddler.

A messy little kid.

A bad tempered little adolescent. 

There is also a phase (of which I forgot to take a picture) of Zagazoo switching between the elephant, the vulture, the warthog, and dragon on any given day. That mixed up time in middle school. 

Suddenly, Zagazoo became a strange, hairy creature. 


And finally, after all that changing, Zagazoo settled into a presentable, well adjusted person. I don't necessarily think kids aren't a little person, even while they are bumbling around elephant-like, but I think the idea of suddenly realizing, after all the uncertainty and the "Can we actually pull off this raising a kid thing?" feelings, that you have raised a charming person you enjoy knowing is a never ending delight every parent can relate to. Well most parents.   

Zagazoo met Mirabelle and they discovered a shared interest in motorcycle maintenance.

When they tell George and Bella the happy news of their impending marriage, they find that George and Bella had suddenly turned into something completely different.  I am not sure I totally understand the ending, but I think it is the idea of young people viewing middle aged parents as a different species that they feel very removed from. Who wants to think there is a chance you could end up like a middle aged couple when life is all exciting and limitless?

I am not very good at giving away the whole story am I? BUT IT IS SO FUN. I had to tell all about it. 


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  2. So did the kids understand what was going on in this book? Or was there a lot of explaining on your part?

    1. The kids thought the baby switching around was funny, and once I explained it, the older girls got the other meaning. It is definitely geared toward a grown up audience, but it is illustrated and written in such a way that even little kids like it. Or at least that is what happened in our house! :-)