The Moonlight Zoo is a simply gorgeous picture book that features a lovely cover and illustrations by Karl James Mountford as it explores Eva’s sleepless night and a missing cat. Her explorations lead her to a “Moonlight Zoo” (a place for all lost animals and pets), where she searches for her missing cat and discovers a host of animals and clues that her cat may have been there. The beautiful pages and illustrations are an outstanding feature of this loving story of a lost cat and a pack of zoo animals that embark on a journey to help Eva find her loved one. The Moonlight Zoo is a keepsake recommendation for adults looking for lasting stories that deserve a lasting place on the bookshelf.
–Midwest Book Review
A mysterious zoo gives hope for the rescue of a lost pet.
Eva is getting ready to sleep but can’t stop thinking about her cat, Luna, who has been missing for two days. A strange noise causes Eva to peer under her bed, and suddenly, a whole new world opens up—the Moonlight Zoo. A wolf escort kindly explains that the zoo appears every night to keep lost animals safe and then disappears in the morning. The duo dash through the intricately designed door (with a lattice cutout pattern), hoping to find Luna. Conventional pets (dogs, guinea pigs) mix with wild animals (elephants, penguins, eagles, and more), all set within the mystical landscape of this unusual zoo. Eva bounds from one kingdom to the next, desperately searching. Readers may wonder why the wolf guide saves the obvious stop, Big Cat Kingdom, for last, but the resulting fantastical tour makes up for the misstep. A palette dominated by purples, pinks, greens, and blues, along with die-cut designs and scalloped corners that let readers peek through to the next scene, adds to the dreamy atmosphere. Eva is dark-haired and tan-skinned and uses hearing aids.
An enchanting romp through the imagination. (Picture book. 3-7) –Kirkus Reviews
Shades of turquoise and raspberry dominate the busily patterned illustrations by Mountford (The Circles in the Sky) that accompany this tale of a magical zoo where lost animals shelter each evening. Worrying about her missing cat, Luna, keeps Eva up at night, but when a sound from below her bed leads her to check beneath it, the tan-skinned, blue-eyed child, portrayed with hearing aids, peers “past old toys and puffs of fluff.” Underneath her bed frame, her flashlight’s beam reveals the Moonlight Zoo, where a friendly wolf invites Eva to look for Luna beyond an elaborately rendered paper-cut gate. Luna loves sardines and birds—is she with the penguins? A left-behind collar and a flash of tail sends Eva and the wolf on a race against time: “The zoo closes at dawn…. We must be quick,” writes Powell-Tuck (The Magical Christmas Store) in urgent prose. Not until the stars begin to fade does a lion’s roar remind the wolf of the natural place to look. It’s a low-key tale of suspense couched in safety and comfort. The idea of entering a fanciful zoo freely and mingling with the animals offers additional excitement and pleasure. Ages 3–7. –Publishers Weekly
A distraught Eva is missing her lost cat, Luna, when she hears strange noises coming from under her bed. She investigates with a flashlight, finding a tunnel. “Welcome to the Moonlight Zoo,” a wolf greets Eva as she emerges into the moonlight. He explains that the magical zoo gives lost animals a safe haven every night, and he’s confident Luna will be among the guests. The first enclosure houses everything from polar bears to poodles, but no Luna. Monkey Island and Wolf Mountain similarly disappoint. With dawn approaching, Eva worries they’ll run out of time before the zoo fades in the daylight, but a roaring in the distance reminds the wolf of one last enclosure: Cat Kingdom! There, happily in the company of lions and leopards, sits beloved Luna, and the relieved pair retires to Eva’s bedroom. The comforting tale is told via lush spreads teeming with adorable animals, using deep purples and pinks along with die-cut details to add exquisite texture and depth. Eva is depicted wearing hearing aids. A soothing story with style to spare. –Booklist