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A NEWBERY ZOO by Martin H. Greenberg


edited by Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-385-32263-1
Publisher: Delacorte

Third in an anthology series based on the work of Newbery Medal-winning authors (following A Newbery Christmas, 1991 and A Newbery Halloween, 1993). Lloyd Alexander, Betsy Byars, Beverly Cleary, Virginia Hamilton, Paul Fleischman, Will James, Robert Lawson, Jean Craighead George, Elizabeth Coatsworth, and Charles Boardman Hawes are all represented (some twice) in 12 selections. The theme of these short stories, chapters, and excerpts is animals; the styles range from realistic, to humorous, to fantasy. Their appeal is uneven; some are timeless, others are dated. Cleary's ``Henry and Ribsy Go Fishing'' is still funny; Hamilton's ``He Lion, Bruh Bear, and Bruh Rabbit'' is a good introduction to her wonderful versions of African-American folktales; and James's ``Tom and Jerry'' about two ponies who are loyal friends, even in mortal danger, remains poignant. Unfortunately, Lawson's ``Mr. Wilmer's Strange Saturday,'' in which a timid clerk discovers he can talk with animals, is coy and silly in the 1990s. There are biographical notes on each of the authors at the end, making this useful for teachers wishing to introduce the award-winning authors through read-aloud selections, or where there is a demand for materials of good literary quality that do not require long attention spans. (Fiction. 8-12)