Rod Campbell, author of the children’s popular classic Dear Zoo, has written a book with a different message to his best selling lift-the-flap picture book.
“We need to look after them better.” he states.
Look After Us is a non-fiction companion to sit alongside Dear Zoo in which the author introduces the idea of conservation to toddlers.
Many animals featured in the original book are now heading for extinction along with others such as orang-utans and tigers.
“I thought there probably aren’t many books for the very youngest children about this topic, because it is difficult,” Campbell, 75, told the Observer. “It was a question of: how do you say that animals are dwindling in a way that a young child will understand?”
Dear Zoo has sold over eight million copies worldwide and can be found in almost every child’s bookcase in the UK.
This new book, however, is less sweet and optimistic than Dear Zoo, but does include the fun flaps to lift and hidden animals beneath. The animals are not in crates or at a zoo but are now found in their natural habitats, and the writer explains that they are becoming endangered.
“Really, it’s like planting a seed in children’s minds,” Campbell says. “I think, if you come to the idea of conservation when you’re young, it stays with you. And I think it grows.”
It is not all doom and gloom as Campbell ends the book with an uplifting message that reveals (spoiler alert) that the whale was saved because “kind people” have looked it and it is now living happily in the sea where it belongs.
“That’s the reward, if you like. Thanks to these kind people, look how happy the whales are – and how many they are,” he says.