A menagerie of facts about the many jobs to do at the zoo.
Jenkins and Page present readers with an amuse-bouche look at a zookeeper’s day in this informational picture book. The premise greatly simplifies the many roles of a zoo’s staff under the rubric “zookeeper” and follows several humans (depicted mostly as disembodied hands in a variety of skin tones) as they perform unusual tasks for birds, mammals, and reptiles. Each fact alone is fodder for a picture book. In short, second-person paragraphs, readers learn that joeys that must be raised without their mothers are carried in cloth pouches that emulate those of a kangaroo; that aardvark ears are sensitive to the sun and may require the application of sunscreen; and that hyenas enjoy frozen bloodsicles on hot days. The backmatter includes a brief timeline of zoo history, locations of and facts about notable zoos, pros and cons of keeping animals captive, and an additional paragraph of information about each animal discussed. Jenkins’ collage illustrations will be familiar to fans, and the balance of image to white space is visually well suited for classroom or group readers. The facts are intriguing enough to prompt new animal enthusiasms among young readers, so educators and caregivers should be prepared to use this book as a springboard for further exploration.
Delightful fare for animal lovers. (Informational picture book. 6-10)