Michael Gattrel, director of ‘Dear Zoo’ Image Credit: Supplied

Pets come in all shapes and sizes but how do you know which suits you best? Rod Campbell’s ‘Dear Zoo’, a picture book turned play for all ages, asks the question of a child.

The story wends its way from wild animal to wild animal, asking its protagonist to pick out the creature he/she’d like best from the zoo. Finally, the answer comes with a joyful smile, a cute little puppy does the trick.

Michael Gattrel, director of ‘Dear Zoo’, which runs at the Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah on March 7 and 8, explains the lure of doing such a show. For one thing, it’s a story that’s known by most people — the book has sold about eight million copies over 36 years.

For another, there’s audience involvement. “Children’s theatre can be so interactive, and they can immerse themselves into the storytelling — you can’t beat live theatre and you can’t press pause in the theatre either,” he adds.

But how do you snip together the pages of what is a flap-up storybook in a way convincing and yet entertaining? That was a challenge, explains the director. “Ensuring that the telling of the storytelling is true to original book.”

The only way to know if the undertaking has been executed properly is through squeals of delight. “And when they pre-empt the animal appearance it’s fun to hear,” says Gattrel.

The best part though? When after meeting creatures great and small, the child sees the pet that’s right for him. And just like that, he says, “He was perfect! I kept him.”

Don’t miss it!

‘Dear Zoo’ runs at the Madinat Theatre, Souk Madinat Jumeirah on March 7 and 8. Tickets to the show, which begins at 4.30pm on both days, with additional shows on March 8 at 11am and 2.30pm, start at Dh130.