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ZOOPA by Gianna Marino


An Animal Alphabet

by Gianna Marino & illustrated by Gianna Marino

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-8118-4789-6
Publisher: Chronicle Books

In this lively, engaging debut, an alphabetical menagerie, drawn naturalistically but with big, expressive eyes and mobile features, gathers around (or, sometimes, in) a bowl of tomato-colored alphabet soup. Marino draws viewers into an increasingly challenging search-and-find game, as each new letter appearing in the soup signals the arrival of another animal, many of which are subtly incorporated into the scene. With “E” for instance, the soup bowl’s plain rim suddenly sports an “elephant” motif, and even expert Waldo Watchers will take a few moments to spot the tiny “unicorn” that shows up on the spoon’s handle at “U.” With larger entrants peering in from the page’s edge and smaller ones bounding about, the action gets more and more frenetic, until in a fitting climax an exuberant zebra explodes out of the soup itself—prelude to a closing visual key that will be a big help to children a little hazy on their Hedgehogs, Nanny goats and Xenops birds. A great choice for self-starters or small groups. (Picture book. 4-6)