Saturday, March 3, 2012

Book #63: ZooZical by Judy Sierra, Illustrated by Marc Brown

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It’s a wintery day at the zoo and all the animals are bored. What to do? Put on a show! A ZooZical! They practice their songs, dances, and acrobatics. They paint scenery and sew costumes. That night for the performance, despite the snow, crowds of people arrive at the zoo. The performance is a show-stopping success, the perfect ending to a snowy day.

Sierra’s rhyming text is full of whimsical wordplay and the illustrations are jam-packed with a cast of colorful characters. I especially love that ocelots and lemurs are included in the text and illustrations. Although the story lacks a major conflict, just a small hippo with stage fright, this book is a rollicking read.

There’s something exhilarating about rehearsing and performing a show and this book deftly captures that spirit. This would be a great gift for a child who is making their debut onstage, be it at school, at camp, or with a community theatre.

The large pages are great for sharing with a group. As you read the book take time to examine the illustrations with the kids. Sing the Alphabet Song with the alligators and see if they can find all of the animal acts mentioned in the text, such as the dancing baboon troop and the live snake hula hoops. In addition, see if the kids can identify the animals that are in the illustrations, but aren’t mentioned directly in the text.

After reading the book, sing the songs the animals use in the book with the modified words, such as Oh My Darling Porcupine and If You’re Hoppy and You Know It. There are more ZooZical-ized song titles and other activities in the Teacher’s Guide provided by Random House.

If the zoo animals in this energetic book steal your heart, as well as the stage, then check out Wild About Books.


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