Math, basketball, and a trip to the zoo.
“The sun goes down at eight o’clock. / The zoo begins to close. / The crowds are thinning out as all / the people leave for home.” Out come all the animals from their pens as they answer the call from the elephant. They’ll need 10 players for a basketball game, but first they need to warm up. One polar bear goes on the court for some layups, followed by a frog. “Two players stay close to the net. / They play some one-on-one. / Just then a penguin darts inside— / her waddle’s now a run.” The zebras referee (of course), as a camel, monkey, and more join in the game until they have enough players, the text counting up all the while. When they have two teams of five, they play their game…just squeezing it in before the zookeeper makes her rounds. “So if you see the animals / doze off or start to yawn, / you’ll know they all were playing games / of basketball till dawn.” Craig’s couplets are nothing special, but Jones’ animal players, though smeary and with a digital look, are appealing enough to make the picture-book portion of this package palatable. The aftermatter—basketball glossary, math activities, and information on endangered animals—makes this a solid-enough purchase for classrooms.
It may not be great literature, but it’s a valuable STEM and Common Core tool. (Picture book. 3-7)