Last week we celebrated Z week. What? You didn’t celebrate? Well, we did. Pink cupcakes with sprinkles and everything. Z week marked the end of Ruth’s preschool Letter of the Week journey. Z is a special letter to her for reasons that will remain nameless. All alphabet she’s been asking if it’s Z week yet so she was especially excited last week to get to the best letter of all.
Z week in children’s literature pretty much means Zoo week which is always fun. We got a lot of zoo books out of the library that we had read and enjoyed previously but were excited to find a few new ones also. Zoo Girl by Rebecca Elliott is a slightly strange book. It’s about a little girl who lives at an orphanage and who stays behind at the zoo one day on a field trip because she loves the animals and feels at home. She is discovered snuggling with the tigers by two zookeepers who end up adopting her. This is all told in one or two words per page, which is quite an achievement. The illustrations are simple but quite effectively tell the story. I didn’t realize what the book was about ahead of time and was a little taken aback by the first few pages, which have the little girl looking quite sad captioned with the words “No family. Alone. Friendless.” It was a little darker than I was expecting for my 3 year old, and I’m not sure she understood the overall happy ending. She wasn’t especially bothered by the book, nor did she especially seem to love it.
We all loved My Side of the Car by the father and daughter team of Kate and Jules Feiffer. Based on one of Kate’s own childhood experiences, this is a funny and sweet look at a parent child relationship. Sadie wants to go to the zoo but things keep happening everytime she and her Dad plan an outing. Her Mom breaks her foot, their dog gets lost, relatives come for a surprise visit. But today they are going no matter what. So when Dad notices that it’s begun to rain on their way to the zoo, Sadie points out that it isn’t raining on HER side of the car. The dialogue between father and daughter gets funnier and funnier as the book goes on:
My dad keeps driving. After a few minutes, he says, “Sadie, is it raining on your side of the car yet?” I look out my window, and the sun is shining on my side of the car. People are putting on their sunglasses and heading to zoos all over the world on my side of the car.
There wasn’t much about the actual zoo in this book but we did love it (and they do get to the zoo in the end so it’s all good).
Other Zoo-themed books we enjoyed:
A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead
Plenty has already been written about this very deserving 2011 Caldecott winner.
1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman
A rhyming book in silly Seussian style.
What’s New at the Zoo? by Betty Comden and Adolph Green
More silly zoo rhyming.
Zoopa: An Animal Alphabet by Gianna Marino
We all really enjoyed finding all the animals in this wordless picture book.
Previous Zoo-themed posts here at Supratentorial:
Zoo Books Part 1
And yes, I’m a little late posting, but it’s not too late to stop by Read Aloud Thursday at Hope is the Word. Lot’s of good stuff there.