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Peek-a-Zoo!: Nina Laden

Book: Peek-a-Zoo!
Author: Nina Laden
Pages: 22 (Board Book)
Age Range: 2-5

Nina Laden's Peek-a-Who? was one of my daughter's favorite books when she was about two. We've given it many times as a gift since then. So I was naturally interested when the new sequel, Peek-a-Zoo! landed on my doorstep. Like the first book, Peek-a-Zoo! is a board book featuring cut-outs that gives clues, and invites young children to guess what's coming next. In this example, all of the mysteries involve animals one might find at the zoo. The selections are driven by maintaining a motif of words that rhyme with "zoo." So we have "Peek a MEW!", showing a tiger cub playing with a ball, and "Peek a BAMBOO!", with a panda bear chewing on some bamboo. 

Because of the narrower focus, I found the answers much more difficult to guess from the tiny hint shown in the cutout than in the first book. "Peek a COCKATOO!" was particularly challenging, with its display of a fan of green feathers. But level of difficulty isn't really a problem with a book like this, because the child is going to read it dozens or hundreds of times, and he or she will have a chance to learn what all of the pictures mean. Like the first book, an embedded mirror at the end gives the child a chance to participate in the story. 

In truth, I don't know whether or not Peek-a-Zoo! will have the same appeal for toddlers that Peek-a-Who? does. I don't have a toddler nearby to test it out on. To me, the examples seem a bit more contrived (as necessitated by the book's tighter focus). But the illustrations are eye-catching without being too busy. And books about animals are always popular with the pre-preschool set. So I will  add Peek-a-Zoo! to my go-to gift list for new babies, as a companion book to Peek-a-Who? And if any of you have tried out both books with your toddlers, I would love to hear about their reactions. 

Publisher: Chronicle Books (@ChronicleKids
Publication Date: March 4, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

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