When wombats are wide awake, owls don’t give a hoot and pandas quit being cute, it’s time for drastic action.ZooZical by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Marc Brown is a jolly, Glee-goes-to-the-zoo rhyming story made for pre-schoolers.
Winter weather is keeping children from visiting the zoo and the animals are in the doldrums – the lemurs have stopped leaping, the snakes have tied themselves in knots and the ocelots have lost their spots . Although most of the animals are grumpy, a small hippo and a baby kangaroo make their own fun with some ‘hip-hopping’ dancing. Soon the other animals join in and it turns into an all-singing, all-dancing, acrobatical extravaganza – a ‘ZooZical’!
The rhyming text in ZooZical is elaborate and clever – importantly, it reads aloud well (I can’t bear rhyming books that are clumsy or forced in order to make it rhyme). Although there is a gradual build of suspense – will people come to see the show? Will the animals be able to perform? – the real fun of this story is seeing animals doing ridiculous things.
“Bears walked the tightrope with elegant ease,
Flamingos whizzed by on the flying trapeze,
Racoons danced in pairs, baboons danced in troops,
and snakes joined the dancers as live hula-hoops.”
The animals also put a new spin on familiar songs – the seals bark “The seals on the bus go round and round”, the porcupine sings “Oh my darling porcupine” and the giraffes chorus “It’s a tall world after all”.
If your kids love animals and the zoo, and you’ve already read Giles Andreae’s Giraffes Can’t Dance a million times, ZooZical is bound to become a favourite. Find it at Book Depository for $19.27 with free shipping to Australia.