Zingzillas are a CBeebies music program that our grandson adores. It's quite a new show, but it was instantly popular and there were a lot of kids waiting for the merchandise to start coming out this summer. This book, Zak Tidies Up, is available now and priced at around £3.99 depending on where you buy it from. In Tesco, it was available as part of a buy-one-get-one-free deal so effectively only cost us £2.
The book is a glossy paperback which is instantly appealing to little children. There aren't too many pages in this (24), but there is quite a lot of text on each page. Annoying for us adults who have to read it I must say.
It's not the best written story in the world this either. The grandson absolutely loves it, but I really think they've used far more words to tell this story than were necessary. By about page 12 I am just bored and start stumbling over the words as I read them in a bid to hurry through each page!
By far the biggest annoyance for me is that there is no clear moral to this story. The idea is that there is a Tidy Up award up for grabs on Zingzilla island, and Zak isn't helping anyone by screwing up bits of paper and throwing them around the place as he struggles to write a song about tidying up - ready for the Big Zing at the end of the story. In the show, the Zingzillas to a Big Zing at the end of every show, which is basically just a showcase of the song they've written during the show. The book follows that same structure.
As Zak keeps chucking paper over the edge of his tree house, because he doesn't know what else to do with it, Todd winds up having to tidy his garden three times (which is below the treehouse). At no point does Zak get into trouble for littering. He gets the rubbish given back to him by Todd, but he doesn't get made to go and clean it all up which is what you do if a child did that!
At the end of the book, Zak uses all the bits he's thrown away to put together a 'scrap song'. And Todd gets the Tidy Up Award' for having to tidy up so many times in one day. No mention of the fact that it was Zak's fault he had to keep tidying up, and no penalty for Zak's careless behaviour either. I was not impressed.
This is not really a book I recommend. The lack of a moral makes it a bit questionable for older kids as I think it sets a bad example. The overly long text, which I really think is unnecessary in many places, makes this unsuitable for younger tots too. The grandson likes it just because it's a Zingzillas book, but he asked for it to be read twice in the first week and hasn't wanted it since - so he's obviously not a huge fan of it either.