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BOO AT THE ZOO by Jeffrey Burton


A Lift-the-Flap Book

by Jeffrey Burton ; illustrated by Emma Trithart

Pub Date: July 24th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5344-2033-5
Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Zoo animals dress up for Halloween trick-or-treat in this lift-the-flap board book.

Rhyming text and interactive features should guarantee a hit with toddlers. Unfortunately, the rhythm is off. Poor scansion makes even acceptable rhymes like “toe” and “glow” or “tune” and “moon” awkward. “Guess Boo?” inserted after each verse is confusing for young children just learning to play “Guess who?” games. The large flaps in each double-page spread are almost the same size as the page they hide; that they can be lifted is only implied by the decorative die-cut edges, and their thinness makes them quite difficult for small fingers to grasp. Similarly, the notion of costumed animals is a promising premise, but the wordplay introduced by Burton assumes too much background knowledge for the board-book audience. For example giraffes are dressed as “Giraffenstein,” penguins as “Penguincesses,” and monkeys as “Apirate.” These made-up words are difficult to pronounce and assume young children will recognize Frankenstein, princess, and pirate costumes when they turn the flaps. The fact that singular nouns are used to describe some of these groups of costumed animals is also confusing. The “Under-wearwolves” are particularly obscure. (And what toddler knows underwear as “tighty-whities”?)

Too much trick and not enough treat.

(Board book. 2-4)