Zoom (Sha’an d’Anthes, Lothian)
Intrepid explorer Scout and Scout’s trusty red space shuttle Beattie rocket through space in this jubilant adventure. Each planet they pass on their journey is depicted as an adorable astrological animal: little red Mars is a cheekily smiling fox; Jupiter is a ginormous whale. Zoom is the first book from artist Sha’an d’Anthes, who has a loyal following on Instagram. Her joyful watercolours exhibit a sense of childlike wonder that perfectly complements the story. The book’s opening pages succinctly and wryly set up its central theme. First the bold declaration: ‘Scout is an inventor, an explorer, a dreamer, and Scout was eager to start the day.’ Followed by the gently humorous addition: ‘But we all need our breakfast.’ Scout is pictured with a spoon in one hand and a crayon in the other. The juxtaposition between practicality and creativity is teased out in the story that follows. When an unexpected mishap (they forgot the spare rocket fuel!) spells disaster for the two adventurers, Scout’s call for help is answered by an obliging sneeze from chilly Pluto. A lesson on how to balance external expectations with your own desire, this bright debut picture book will resonate with young children aged three and up.
Bronte Coates is a Melbourne-based writer. She works for Readings as the digital content coordinator and manager of the Readings Prizes