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BIRTHDAY ZOO by Deborah Lee Rose


by Deborah Lee Rose & illustrated by Lynn Munsinger

Age Range: 3 - 5

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 0-8075-0776-8
Publisher: Whitman

A cheerful, rhymed birthday celebration for a young boy staged by the animals of a zoo. Rose (Into the A, B, Sea, 2000, etc.) doesn’t shy away from the more unusual members of the zoo community, perhaps because they handily fit into her rhyme scheme. Tamarinds, okapi, gnus, and emus get into the act, and a host of others: “ ‘Birthday today!’ / reported the ray. / ‘Who is it for?’ / inquired the boar. / ‘Kid with the presents,’ / answered the pheasants.” Each of the animals comes with the full Munsinger treatment of wispy lines, emotive faces, and plenty of goofy action. The rhymes are equally graceful—“ ‘Spread out the cloth,’ directed the sloth. / ‘Pass out the hats,’ instructed the bats. / ‘Pour all the drinks,’ gurgled the lynx.” Fun can be had by covering the name of the animal speaking and having readers guess the animal name, with the illustrations providing clues. What’s more, kids will get an introduction to animals that aren’t found in the standard farmyard—tapirs, swifts, and all the above—in addition to revisiting old familiars: monkeys, moose, bears, and snails. (Picture book. 3-5)