by Judy Sierra, Illustrations by Marc Brown

Knopf Books for Young Readers, August 9, 2011.
Hardcover, 40 pages.
ISBN: 037586847X
Ages 4-8

Zoozical by Judy Sierra

Children will welcome the beloved zoo animals that they first met in the New York Times number one best seller, Wild About Books. Written by the same talented team of Judy Sierra and Marc Brown, Zoozical offers three things that always delight children: further adventures of already known characters, rhyme that carries along the narrative and whimsical illustrations .

The fun begins on a dismal, wintry day at the zoo when no one has come to visit. Everyone is shut in, bored, and cranky. Then the youngest of the animals, unable to keep still, begin to dance. Inspired by the youngsters, the older animals begin to improvise and add to the action and things begin to take shape. Children will be inspired by the amusing results as each group of animals begins to add to the performance. Putting on a musical to relieve the boredom of a shut in day is the perfect response to the problem.

But beyond the entertainment value of hearing a story about characters that children already know is the nurturing of the love of rhyme that exists in all children. As far as we know poetry was the first form of storytelling in primitive groups who had as yet not developed their ability to record the history of the group by making marks on clay and assigning certain sounds to each different symbol. Rhyming poetry with a recognized beat is surely inculcated in the deepest experiences of the human family. So, it becomes a delight to experience how easily the rhyme and meter of poetry focus the imagination of even the most active children. The rhymed couplets help the very young take part and remember the sequence of the story. Add in original new verses to melodies already familiar such as "the seals on the bus go round and round" involves the young listeners even more.

Along with the delights of poetry, the whimsical illustrations of Marc Brown make us see the silly side of animal groups. A favorite group is bound to be a group of baboons turned into a pink corps de ballet. Marc Brown, the creator of the Arthur television show on PBS, brings a lighthearted sense of humor mixed with an understanding of the feelings of the very young.

Zoozical will doubtless find its way into a favorite spot on the bookshelf of either home or classroom.

-- Sarah Reaves White

Zoozical is available for purchase on Amazon.com

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