Caretakers of invented animals need special instructions and great imagination.
As the text emphatically states (in gigantic print), this is not a simple handbook for the easy tasks of zookeepers or farmers but for the mashup of those two careers. The name given to this career indicates the pattern for the names of the created animals, which are combinations of wild animals and those found on a farm. Each of these unusual creatures is depicted in soft tones of gray, brown, blue, and green against a pale gray background on a double-page spread. The accompanying large-type text names it and gives a bit of helpful information about it. A “polar cow” eats strawberries, dances, and then proceeds to produce ice cream. It’s hard to see the glorious feathers of the “pigcock,” because they’re covered in mud. The “horsodile” can provide a very fast ride on land or underwater. Several of the critters are amusing and creative and will elicit giggles from young readers, but others might just cause puzzlement. The “girafooster” might not be recognized by either of its parts, and it is only the text that gives a clue to its identity. The “shiger” is a delightful creature, but the wooly stripes noted in the text are not readily evident in the illustration. It’s clever and often charming but uneven overall.
A near miss. (Picture book. 5-9)