Two children who hide in the zoo after closing witness zookeeper Jack getting down with all the animals in this re-envisioning of the iconic movie song.
Inspired by new grandparenthood (as he reveals in a performer’s note), Loggins has rewritten the lyrics to one of the 1980s’ biggest earworms to recount a dance party at the zoo. “All the animals are watchin’ / to see if everyone’s gone. / Gettin’ ready to party, / they’re gonna be dancin’ till the dawn.” The white zookeeper boogies with chimps, wolves, lions, and more, while the surreptitious visitors (both light-skinned; one with a black pageboy and the other with close-cropped brown hair) look on with excitement before joining in. Bowers’ textured, full-bleed double-page spreads are appropriately kinetic and playful, depicting a quartet of tutu-clad llamas in midjeté, a hip DJ elephant spinning LPs with forelegs and trunk, and a hippo dressed for a hoedown in white cowboy boots. The range of dance styles indicated by costume spans ballroom dancing to hip-hop. The new variations on the familiar refrain will probably be easy enough for adult readers to manage in a read-aloud, but the new verses’ scansion may be difficult to parse. A CD embedded in the back cover, performed by Loggins, is immeasurably helpful in establishing the rhythms.
“Slip on your dancin’ shoes,” indeed. (Picture book. 3-7)