A romp through zoo history presented with pizzazz.

WHAT'S NEW? THE ZOO!

A ZIPPY HISTORY OF ZOOS

For at least 4,400 years, people have collected and displayed animals for entertainment, education and enlightenment.

From the long-ago kingdom of Ur, where the ruler enjoyed roaring at his lions, to San Diego, Calif., home of a popular panda cub today, zoos have provided public and private amusement and instruction for thousands of years. Krull’s fast-paced survey offers a different animal collection on nearly every page. Date and place serve as headings; a paragraph of description follows. She’s found intriguing examples including a “Garden of Intelligence” in ancient China, an aviary-cum–dining hall in Rome, a particularly extensive holding belonging to Aztec emperor Moctezuma II and a present-day bird park in Bali, Indonesia. She mentions zoo conservation work and the move toward natural housing for the animals. The text is lively and often humorous. There’s the elephant who sprayed a 16th-century pope and 15 “very confused American buffalo” in Grand Central Terminal in New York. Hall’s watercolor-and-ink illustrations, familiar to readers of the New Yorker and other magazines for adults, work equally well for a child audience. His fluidly drawn animals have amusing, slightly goofy expressions, the people are remarkably varied, and the settings include recognizable elements from historical times and places. Varying from vignettes to double-page spreads, these images add greatly to the overall appeal.

A romp through zoo history presented with pizzazz. (sources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 24, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-545-13571-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 9, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2014

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Hee haw.

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THE WONKY DONKEY

The print version of a knee-slapping cumulative ditty.

In the song, Smith meets a donkey on the road. It is three-legged, and so a “wonky donkey” that, on further examination, has but one eye and so is a “winky wonky donkey” with a taste for country music and therefore a “honky-tonky winky wonky donkey,” and so on to a final characterization as a “spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey.” A free musical recording (of this version, anyway—the author’s website hints at an adults-only version of the song) is available from the publisher and elsewhere online. Even though the book has no included soundtrack, the sly, high-spirited, eye patch–sporting donkey that grins, winks, farts, and clumps its way through the song on a prosthetic metal hoof in Cowley’s informal watercolors supplies comical visual flourishes for the silly wordplay. Look for ready guffaws from young audiences, whether read or sung, though those attuned to disability stereotypes may find themselves wincing instead or as well.

Hee haw. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-545-26124-1

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 29, 2018

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A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends

WAITING IS NOT EASY!

From the Elephant & Piggie series

Gerald the elephant learns a truth familiar to every preschooler—heck, every human: “Waiting is not easy!”

When Piggie cartwheels up to Gerald announcing that she has a surprise for him, Gerald is less than pleased to learn that the “surprise is a surprise.” Gerald pumps Piggie for information (it’s big, it’s pretty, and they can share it), but Piggie holds fast on this basic principle: Gerald will have to wait. Gerald lets out an almighty “GROAN!” Variations on this basic exchange occur throughout the day; Gerald pleads, Piggie insists they must wait; Gerald groans. As the day turns to twilight (signaled by the backgrounds that darken from mauve to gray to charcoal), Gerald gets grumpy. “WE HAVE WASTED THE WHOLE DAY!…And for WHAT!?” Piggie then gestures up to the Milky Way, which an awed Gerald acknowledges “was worth the wait.” Willems relies even more than usual on the slightest of changes in posture, layout and typography, as two waiting figures can’t help but be pretty static. At one point, Piggie assumes the lotus position, infuriating Gerald. Most amusingly, Gerald’s elephantine groans assume weighty physicality in spread-filling speech bubbles that knock Piggie to the ground. And the spectacular, photo-collaged images of the Milky Way that dwarf the two friends makes it clear that it was indeed worth the wait.

A lesson that never grows old, enacted with verve by two favorite friends . (Early reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9957-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Hyperion

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2014

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