Ok, I'm giving this book 4 stars even though the writing's nothing special because it takes place in Australia and there are all kinds of cool animals. There are wombats, bandicoots, wallabies, kangaroos, a platypus,a possum, a raccoon, dingoes, and a tasmanian devil! The hero of the story is Albert, a duck-billed platypus. After escaping from the zoo, he goes in search of his idea of Shangri La; Old Australia.
I was kind of confused by the book, because when it starts out Albert's in a zoo. Presumably, the zoo is managed by people. Once he escapes, he seems to enter a completely different world. There are no people but the animals have taken on the characteristics of people. There speak, wear clothes, and run businesses. They drink and gamble. The story plays out like somthing from the Australian version of the Wild Wild West. There are bar brawls and nights spent camping under the stars. It's a lot of fun.
Albert is a gentle soul who finds himself caught up in a world he didn't know existed. He encounters prejudice (being a platypus and all), learns that there are flawed but wonderful others out there. He learns about trust and loyalty and what it means to be a friend. No matter what happens, Albert holds onto his dream of finding the perfect place for him. "That place probably doesn't exist, Albert." There was a chance that Jack was right, but it didn't matter to Albert. He had come a long way on a faint hope and would continue on for the same reason. "It might, and that's enough for me"