1 Zany Zoo
What It Is
New children’s book author, Lori Degman, gives us a fun, rhyming tale of what happens in a zoo after hours. This book tells the story of a boy who sneaks inside while waiting on the entrance line, and we see through his eyes how our favorite zoo animals frolic when no one is watching. Using a counting build from one to 10, the story starts with one “fearless fox” who grabs the zookeeper’s keys, then moves to two “sporty zebras” wearing goggles who give the walrus a whisker trim, and so on up to 10 “rowdy bears” that lead the ultimate zoo parade. The ruckus comes to an end with the zookeeper ordering the animals back in their cages in time for the zoo’s opening. As the boy gets in line outside the gates, the giraffe leans over the wall to give him a knowing wink.
Why It’s Fun
The idea that things are very different at night than they are during the day is a classic theme of children’s and adult fiction. In this case, children are invited to project their own fantasies of fun onto the world of the zoo and Ms. Degman brings it to life with a rhyming tempo reminiscent of Dr. Suess. However, the real star of this book are the illustrations by Colin Jack, also a character designer on Nick Jr.’s “Max & Ruby” series. Mr. Jack’s modern animated style gives you a sense that the characters are really in motion. There is so much detail to explore on each page that you can just imagine yourself as the boy witnessing all the mayhem.
Who’s Going To Love It
A rhyming story with fabulous graphics and wacky animals is a formula for children’s books that generally succeeds — and this one certainly does. It’s a great picture book that kids will like to look at again and again. The title hints that it is a counting book, which is part of the story, the narrative will also appeal to kids who can already count to 10. This is a good purchase and addition to your library.
About 3 minutes
10 out of 10
1 Zany Zoo
By: Lori Degman; Illustrated by Colin Jack
Published by: Simon & Schuster (2010)
Approximate retail price: $15.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 3 & up