The hitherto-unseen alliance of dual toddler obsessions (construction equipment and zoo animals) comes together at last.
When a team of brassy construction vehicles drives through the local zoo, the animal residents aren’t quite sure what to think. Yet even the most preliminary investigations reveal that there’s something special about these trucks. The rhino finds a temperamental soul mate in the bulldozer, the monkeys play with the wrecking ball, and the giant tortoise sees a kindred spirit in the dump truck. It isn’t long before the animals are aiding their newfound friends. Thorne manages to play completely fair with the construction/zoo pairings, coming up with occasionally inspired duos, as with the giraffe and the crane or the elephant and the excavator. Graphic elements have a brightly colored geometry to their designs. The angular art has an almost structural simplicity, but it’s a pity the illustrator failed to show any changes between the zoo before the construction and afterward. Though readers are assured at the end that “now the zoo is twice the fun,” it’s not at all clear how this might be. From the standpoint of the text, its bounce makes this ideal storytime fare, and it rhymes perfectly, with the possible exception of an awkward stanza near the end.
Minor missteps aside, consider this a one-stop shopping source when zoo and construction needs must be simultaneously met. (Picture book. 2-5)