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THE UNDERPANTS ZOO by Brian Sendelbach


by Brian Sendelbach & illustrated by Brian Sendelbach

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-24935-5
Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

In rhyming verse that sometimes stumbles, Sendelbach’s picture-book debut showcases a zoo where all the animals wear underwear.

From tighty whiteys to boxers and even a union suit, underpants of all styles, colors and patterns are depicted in bright acrylic illustrations. “Kangaroo’s boxers need / plenty of bounce. / For the sloths, / fluffy comfort is what counts.” Some animals’ choices will prove no surprise—the spots on the leopard’s underwear or the fact that elephant’s underpants are size extra-jumbo gigantic. Others are a refreshing change—the zebras prefer stars on their underwear, and crocodile’s skivvies have to be seen to be believed. Many choices either solve or cause problems for their wearers—the penguins’ are prechilled in the freezer, camel’s are always collecting sand and anteater’s? Well, readers can surely guess his problem. Sendelbach keeps his backgrounds and details simple, allowing children to focus on the humorous depictions of animals in underwear, some of which may cause adults to raise an eyebrow (the snakes share one pair, for instance). Overall, though, this tries too hard to be too many things.

While the word “underpants” may get readers to give this a try, repeat trips to this zoo are unlikely—better to buy additional copies of the Barretts’ Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing (1970) and Animals Should Definitely Not Act Like People (1980). (Picture book. 3-7)