The Last Zoo

The incredible Sam Gayton!


Today we had a wonderful time with the amazing Sam Gayton! Three hundred and sixty something children and adults were completely captivated, enjoying an hour of fun and frolics- and some excellent writing tips. It was a afternoon to remember!


Starting with an incredible self-introduction that involved bursting out of a cupboard and the children whooping and chanting, ‘Gayton! Gayton!’, Sam somehow managed to settle everyone quickly so that he could share some of his top tips for writing.


Ask the ‘what if…’ questions, look for the story sparks and remember that play is the highest form of research. With these thoughts, Sam had the children playing games, creating characters and above all, enjoying themselves thinking about writing. He read from his new book, ‘The Last Zoo’, bringing his words vividly to life as he half read, half acted sections of the story.


The time flew by - and soon Sam was answering questions and signing books. The children were buzzing with excitement and enthusiasm. I have just had parents’ evening and so many of my parents commented on how much their children had enjoyed the event.


But enough of my thoughts… thoughts from children coming soon!

Many thanks for coming, Sam!

You can read our review of ‘The Last Zoo’ here.

The Last Zoo


That night in Pia’s dreams they cut the moon like a cake and serve her an ice-white slice. The sponge is all silvery, dotted on top with candied meteorites. it tastes of cheesecake, of course.

When Pia wakes from her dream, she finds the two angels who live with her, her ghost parents, the genies and a devil on the celestial ark have disappeared. Desperate to conceal this fact for as long as possible, Pia tries everything she can think of to solve this mystery, using the mysterious halos the angels left behind and trying to ignore the tempting whispers of Bagrin, the devil. But will she run out of time?

Oh my! Sam Gayton’s vivid imagination has created the most amazing world, filled with fantastic creations. Written in the present tense and focusing mainly on Pia- Cornucopia to give her her full name- ‘The Last Zoo’ is a wonderful story, set in a future after the i-era has collapsed. Each aspect of this world is carefully constructed, making the most bizarre ideas work perfectly.

The devastating effects of war and technology and the damage humans inflict on the world are highlighted through both the story and the comments of some of the characters.

‘A plague of humans.’

‘A plague?’

He nods. ‘Or what about an infestation? Hmm. An invasion? That’s good, but invasions have a point. They aren’t thoughtless, endless stupid, the way humans are.’

Yet the story ultimately offers a message of hope with an uplifting and moving conclusion which stays with the reader long after they have finished the book.

Peppered with Sam’s mischievous humour, ‘The Last Zoo’ is a challenging, complex read which completely absorbs the reader.

The Last Zoo Sam Gayton

Anderson Press ISBN: 978-1783447701

You can read our review of ‘Hercufleas’ here which won our 2015 Read Aloud Category.