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1001 Zagazoo
Added on 06th August 2020

Author and Illustrator Quentin Blake
First published 1998
Publisher Oxford University Press

What is the Zagazoo? Even his parents aren't quite sure in this surreal story.

Story

George and Bella receive a parcel. Inside they find ‘a little pink creature’, a baby called Zagazoo.

As Zagazoo grows he alters personas from vulture to elephant to warthog, to dragon to a wailing bat and a hairy creature. When fully grown Zagazoo turns into a young man with perfect manners. Zagazoo falls in love with a young woman but when he goes to tell his parents they have turned into pelicans.

Why we chose it

A surreal meditation on the stages of childhood – considered by some to be one of the best parenting books. A book that can be enjoyed by adults as much as by children.

Where it came from

Blake had his first illustration published at the age of 16. He didn’t study art or illustration but has been drawing all his life, taking inspiration from artists, cartoonists, books, plays and films. He has cited Eugene Ionesco (Rhinoceros, 1959) as an influence on Zagazoo.

Where it went next

Blake designed a range of Zagazoo children’s fabrics and wallpapers based on his original illustrations for fabric and wallpaper designers Osbourne & Little.

Associated Stories

Other books written and illustrated by Quentin Blake include Clown, The Green Ship, Mister Magnolia and Mrs Armitage on Wheels.

He has also worked with many other writers, among them Joan Aitken, Michael Rosen and Roald Dahl.

Added on 06th August 2020

Author and Illustrator Quentin Blake
First published 1998
Publisher Oxford University Press