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by Judy Sierra ; illustrated by Marc Brown

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-525-64620-4
Publisher: Knopf

Zoo animals of every size work together to turn an abandoned mall into a new zoo.

Takoda the anthropomorphic tiger cub thinks the old building and grounds would make a wonderful zoo. (It’s entirely unclear why a new one’s warranted, as these animals seem to be self-governing, with no humans in sight.) His fellow animals are up to the challenge, and readers will be too as they count the animals on each page: “Two rough, tough rhinos” with bulldozers, three lemurs with paint rollers, four oryx cutting windows, etc. But the rhinos spurn the insects when they offer their help: “ ‘You bugs are too small.’ / ‘You’re pests. You’re annoying. / You don’t count at all.’ ” Before long the amusement park–like zoo is complete, but a new problem arises: Those rhinos won’t share the water slide. “Then silently, stealthily, down from the sky…” it’s bugs to the rescue, proving to even the rhinos that everyone counts. The final spread is a riot of fun as the animals enjoy the slide, and those with good eyes and some patience will be able to spy the insects. Don’t miss the jokes on the endpapers (adults will surely hear them multiple times). Sierra’s rollicking rhymes are fun to read aloud and listen to, and Brown’s gouache and pencil illustrations give children lots of details to pore over, but it doesn’t do for counting what the team’s Wild About Books (2004) did for reading.

This rhythmic, imaginative romp practically reads itself aloud.

(Picture book. 3-8)