Can't all the animals just get along? Lucky for readers, no!
An initial double-page spread shows dozens of disgruntled animals—walrus and crab and monkey and camel and others—crammed too close and uttering expletives. Then, bouncy lyrics of the title song by Comden and Green (from the musical Do Re Mi) take over, comprising the entirety of the text. It begins, " 'Ouch! You're stepping on my pouch!' to the bear said the kangaroo." Elsewhere in the zoo, the elephant and the gnu are getting into it, the seal is swallowing kippers (after flapping his flippers) and the goose steps on the neck of the giraffe. "Let us out! Let us out!" becomes the repeated chorus that is interspersed between the depicted mishaps (verses). The porcupine steps on the chops of the wolf as the swine steps on his quills. Do the animals eventually escape? Yes; in a riot...of hues. Foster's ingenious illustrations feature antic cartoonish animals in an explosion of color against a background of gray lines wildly depicting other animals, for a 3-D, retro effect. A handful of pages have flaps with surprises underneath, a special treat for very young readers. And the lyrics of the Tony-winning duo scan perfectly. Green's widow, Phyllis Newman (of Broadway and TV-game-show fame) adds an appealing introduction and afterword.Fresh and vintage at the same time; an accompanying CD would have made it perfect. (Picture book. 3-7)