One Night in the Zoo is a bedtime story about the activities that take place in a zoo one night, when no humans are around to witness them. We have everything from a flying elephant to a bunch of lions doing card tricks. Kids will enjoy the whimsy, I think.
Judith Kerr uses soothing, rhythmic text. It's the kind of text that gets into your head as a reader (especially the refrain, "but nobody knew"), but isn't irritating. It's a book that begs to be read aloud. For example:
"Seven tigers sneezed: Atchoo! Atchoo!
Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo! Atchoo!
ATCHOO! And their seven sneezes below
The feathers off a cockatoo.
Eight monkeys stuck them back with glue.
But nobody knew."
Kerr pairs this text with delicate pencil illustrations, in soft colors, against a swirling, multicolored night sky. My favorite is a picture of six rabbits climbing up a giraffe's back, and then using parasols to float back to the crowd. Each rabbit has a different pattern, and each parasol does, too. The giraffe looks a bit uncertain about the whole thing, and the night sky in the background is dotted with stars. Lovely!
One Night in the Zoo is a counting book that doesn't feel like a counting book - the story would be fun on it's own, even if we didn't have, in sequence, three lions, four bears, etc. Still, parents will want to spend time on the ending page spread, which shows all of the sets of animals, in order, providing an excellent recap of both numbers and types of animals.
This is one that I liked even better on the second reading than the first. We'll definitely be keeping it around, to read to our daughter in her jungle kids-themed room, when the time comes. Recommended!
Publisher: Kane Miller
US Publication Date: March 2010 (originally published in the UK in 2009)
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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