The Rainbow Zoo by Lucille Lang Day

The Rainbow Zoo

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Two children go to a zoo where they meet a wide assortment of unusually colored animals in this rhyming, illustrated book for young children.

Autumn and Devlin, a pair of blonde siblings, decide one day to visit the Rainbow Zoo. The animals there have unconventional hues and sometimes odd patterns, such as a pink polka-dot kangaroo. The brother and sister wander around pointing out what they see: “Devlin said, ‘Look! The lion is blue!’ / And the saffron cow said, ‘Moo, moo, moo!’ ” Other animals include a lime polar bear and an orange elephant. It’s not just the animals that are unusually colored; a yellow gorilla tries to escape up a turquoise tree, for example, and the hot dogs from the snack stand are a multicolored plaid. Color words (even “plaid”) are depicted in their appropriate shades, helping to highlight the concepts. After a long, fun day at the zoo, where the children also enjoy the singing of indigo frogs and the snorting of lavender hogs, Devlin and Autumn return home, planning to “come back again / To see the scarlet giraffes in their pen!” Day (editor: Red Indian Road West, 2016, etc.) shows that she has a good ear for language in her latest children’s book. The rhymes aren’t especially unexpected (“red”/“bed”/“said”/“fed,” for example), but Day’s lines scan well and have a nice bounce. Orosco’s pleasant illustrations are also a plus, nicely capturing the book’s feel while adding to its humor, as in her depiction of an angry, frowny-faced, and adorably fat fuchsia bumblebee. Children often enjoy nonsense and silliness, so the topsy-turvy nature of the colors will give them much to giggle over. Also, although many other kids’ books teach basic colors, this one gives young readers a chance to become familiar with more exotic hues, such as tangerine and fuchsia. One flaw for some families may be that the book depicts no other people besides the white siblings, giving children of color, ironically enough, no chance to see themselves represented.

An excellent candidate for reading aloud, helped out by attractive, textured illustrations.

Pub Date: Nov. 14th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-9768676-6-1
Page count: 28pp
Publisher: Scarlet Tanager Books
Program: Kirkus Indie
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