Steve Goes to Carnival

Joshua Button, Robyn Wells

Steve Goes to Carnival
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Steve Goes to Carnival

Joshua Button, Robyn Wells

Steve is a gorilla who lives at a zoo in Rio. In the evenings, he listens to jazz on the radio with his friend, Antonio the zookeeper. One night, Steve is feeling a little lonely and so he lifts the latch of his cage door and goes off to search for Antonio. At the tram stop outside the zoo, he finds a hat - the perfect disguise. Steve climbs aboard a tram and rides down the hillside, past the favelas and into the city.

It is carnival time in Rio! Fireworks explode in the sky and sequinned dancers shimmy along the avenue. ‘Feliz Carnaval’ cry the sambistas. Steve follows the sounds of a saxophone and discovers his friend Antonio playing in a quartet at the Blue Jaguar Jazz Club. When a beautiful dancer steps on to the dance floor, Steve takes her by the hand. They twirl and twist to the music until suddenly, Steve’s hat falls off to reveal he is a gorilla! Calmly, the dancer puts Steve’s hat back on his head and they spin this way and that way, this way and that way, all the way to dawn.

Age range 3 to 6


There’s so much to like in this exuberant tale of Steve – a jazz-loving, dancing gorilla – and his friend Antonio, the zookeeper who plays saxophone at night. There is the fine balance of vivid colour, loose line and clean white space, which makes the images zing off the page. The sharply edited text is a pleasure to say and to hear. And there’s the delicious story of Steve as he goes out into the Rio de Janeiro night in search of Latin grooves and good times. Steve Goes to Carnival is one of the funkiest books for readers aged 3 and up in many years.

Mike Shuttleworth works as a bookseller at Readings Hawthorn.

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