The Rainbow Zoo

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

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. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9768676-6-1

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Scarlet Tanager Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 14, 2016


The Buehners retell the old familiar tale with a jump-roping, rhyme-spouting Goldilocks. When their porridge proves to be too hot to eat, the bear family goes for a stroll. Meanwhile, Goldilocks comes knocking to find a jump-roping friend. This Goldilocks does not simply test out the chairs: “Big chair, middle chair, little chair, too, / Somebody’s here to bounce on you!” And so continues the old favorite, interspersed with Goldilocks’s jump-rope verse. When she escapes through the bedroom window, none of the characters are sure what sort of creature they have just encountered. The Buehner’s homey illustrations perfectly capture the facial expressions of the characters, and lend a particular kind of mischief to Goldilocks. Readers may miss the message on the copyright page, but hidden within each picture are three creatures, instantly adding challenge and appeal. Cute, but there’s not quite enough new here to make it a must. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8037-2939-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2007


The seemingly ageless Seeger brings back his renowned giant for another go in a tuneful tale that, like the art, is a bit sketchy, but chockful of worthy messages. Faced with yearly floods and droughts since they’ve cut down all their trees, the townsfolk decide to build a dam—but the project is stymied by a boulder that is too huge to move. Call on Abiyoyo, suggests the granddaughter of the man with the magic wand, then just “Zoop Zoop” him away again. But the rock that Abiyoyo obligingly flings aside smashes the wand. How to avoid Abiyoyo’s destruction now? Sing the monster to sleep, then make it a peaceful, tree-planting member of the community, of course. Seeger sums it up in a postscript: “every community must learn to manage its giants.” Hays, who illustrated the original (1986), creates colorful, if unfinished-looking, scenes featuring a notably multicultural human cast and a towering Cubist fantasy of a giant. The song, based on a Xhosa lullaby, still has that hard-to-resist sing-along potential, and the themes of waging peace, collective action, and the benefits of sound ecological practices are presented in ways that children will both appreciate and enjoy. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-689-83271-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2001

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