A trip to the zoo could result in a hullabaloo if the soundly sleeping panda is disturbed.
Written in a rollicking, rhyming text, the first paragraph of the story starts off innocently enough. “So you’re here at the zoo on this glorious day. / You’re sure to have fun—it’s a great place to play. / Come in. Look around. Relax and explore. / Inside you will find there are creatures galore. / You’ll have a magnificent time at the zoo….” But that ellipsis leads readers across the gutter to a final clause: “… just don’t wake the panda whatever you do.” Readers soon learn of the consequences. If the panda wakes up “he gets very grumpy, / which hypes up the hippos and makes them all jumpy.” This sets off a chain reaction among the zoo animals: the geckos and gibbons start giggling, the chimps “chit-chatter,” the yaks (of course) start yakking, “the crocodile, too, starts snapping on cue,” and so on, until “there’s grunting and growling and prancing and prowling,” ultimately causing a stampede. Owen’s rhyming text—awkward at times—is augmented by Nixon’s bold and striking illustrations starring a whole cast of creatures. Somersaulting hippos, trumpeting elephants, and hopping kangaroos rendered in vivid, matte colors all add to the party atmosphere. Packed with fun animal noises and dynamic actions to mimic, it may be the ultimate read-aloud.
Children will clamor to join in the wild rumpus. (Picture book. 4-10)