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Zoe and Beans – Hello Oscar! is a picture book by Zoe and Mick Inkpen, part of an ongoing Zoe and Beans story set.

I liked this book because the pictures were absolutely exquisite.  Zoe, and her dog Beans, go out into the garden and start discovering a whole menagerie of animals that don’t belong to them, but which have mysteriously appeared in the yard.  The mystery deepens when Zoe finds a parrot who can only say: ‘Hello Oscar!’

The pictures of the animals are gorgeous, and the whole book is really brought to life by them, which is good, as the story in this book was particularly weak, and the punch line, when it came, really wasn’t worth the effort.

It is very like a lift the flap, surprise at the end style book with a little humour injected because of the parrot, but my children didn’t find it terribly funny.  They didn’t dislike the book, but it seemed to baffle them slightly, not because they didn’t understand what happened at the end, but because it was a bit ‘meh’.

My youngest child, who is six, liked the book, but again, it was more because of an excellent picture of a chameleon than because the story made a deep and lasting impression on him.

Suitable for boys and girls aged from 3 to 6.

If you like all the other Zoe and Beans books, then I’m sure you will like this one too. Me, I’m not convinced.