If one thing is true about a cute and cuddly Zagazoo (all ages), it's that once it arrives, life will never be the same for its lucky recipients. Quentin Blake's latest book presents an imaginative, humorous, and downright honest perspective on the odyssey of raising a child, or Zagazoo. Included are the many transformations that the unsuspecting parents and mischievous Zagazoo undergo along the way.

Take George and Bella, for instance. At the beginning of the story, the happy couple spends their days building model airplanes and eating ice cream together. Then one day, a package arrives. This is no ordinary package, but a beautiful pink little Zagazoo, according to its label. Oh, what joy this little Zagazoo brings to the couple! Now George and Bella spend their time tossing it in the air; its only flaw is a perpetually wet diaper, which is easily offset by the creature's happy smile. Life with this new Zagazoo is perfect; that is, until one day George and Bella wake to find that their beautiful little treasure has morphed into a rather unattractive baby vulture, whose piercing screeches fill the wee hours of the night. This begins to rattle the happy couple's nerves. No sooner than they fumble for a solution, the vulture becomes a small elephant that bumbles around the house, trashing furniture and munching on everything in sight. On and on, the changes occur, from a warthog to a dragon to a bat and back again, while George and Bella struggle to clean up and cope with the uncertainty of what they've gotten themselves into. Hair graying and at wit's end, the couple is finally blessed by another change that readers will find remarkably . . . normal.

Born in England and a resident of London, Blake is a renowned author of children's picture books and has illustrated books for acclaimed authors such as Russell Hoban, Margaret Mahy, and Joan Aiken. Blake received a Kate Greenway Medal for his book Mister Magnolia and a Whitbread Award for his collaboration with Roald Dahl on The Witches. ¦ Jamie McAlister is a writer and father of two Zagazoos.

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