In lively rhyming couplets that beg to be read aloud, Sierra’s zoo animals are back, this time proving that it takes a village zoo to raise children…especially when those children are adopted.
The new batch of zoo babies finds the tree kangaroo and the panda couple bemoaning their lack of offspring. But while the crocodiles list all the reasons why babies are awful (“mountains of poo” are mentioned), they simply cannot give their children to the pandas, since they “LOVE THEM COMPLETELY.” The tree kangaroo jumps at the opportunity to tuck a mystery egg into her pouch to hatch. Her penguin chick, while not what she expected or dreamed of, is just perfect. Meanwhile, the still-childless pandas get a surprise of their own in the form of a stray kitten. Both of the new little families are tenderly watched over by the other zoo inhabitants. The “pandacat” and “pengaroo” are each the answer to their parents’ wishes, as is more than evident from both the text and Brown’s watercolor, gouache and colored-pencil illustrations. Bright colors and bold patterns fill the pages, but the true stars are the animals, whose mutual affection shines through on every page.
While human adoptions may never be this random and unexpected (and have been covered by the likes of Jamie Lee Curtis and Rose Lewis), this nicely captures the cross-species bonds animals sometimes form. (Picture book. 4-8)