Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Pssst! Been to the zoo lately?

You may never think of the zoo the same way after you read this wonderful picture book! I knew I was in for a treat when I opened the book and found a zoo map on the inside cover with an unobtrusive note saying "Lost children may be claimed at the information kiosk. Children not claimed at closing time become property of the zoo and will be fed to the bears." I really knew I was going to love the book when I read the sign on the Walrus enclosure that said "I AM THE WALRUS (koo-koo-kachoo)."

The narrator, a young girl on her own, tells us the story of what happened one day at the zoo. When she walks into the zoo, she hears a "Pssst!" and looks around. A gorilla says, "Over here." She approaches him, and he asks her for a new tire to replace his broken swing. Bemused, she agrees, and he adds, "Great. Get two, just in case."

Again and again she hears "Psst!" and each time it is a different animal asking her for something: trash cans, flashlights, paint, bicycle helmets. (The bicycle helmets are for the sloths. When the girl starts to ask, "Why would you need--" one of the sloths slips off its branch and lands on its head with a resounding kunk. The girl, unflappable as ever, simply says, "Right...bicycle helmets."

I couldn't help but wonder how on earth she was going to manage to purchase all these things. But it turns out that the peacock picks the coins out of the fountains. Of course.

These animals have a plan - a Very Grand Plan with a wonderful payoff for the reader. This picture book is the perfect combination of text and illustrations, each telling an integral part of the story, and it succeeds beautifully.

Make sure to check out Adam Rex's very cool website as well as his blog, Editpus Rex.

Pssst! by Adam Rex (Harcourt, Inc., 2007)

Publisher recommends for ages 4 - 8.

7 comments:

  1. That looks really cute! I'm not much on picture books but I really like the artwork for this one.

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  2. Sorry for the second post but I read your comment about The Halloween Tree on someone's blog and wanted to let you know that there is an online children's book group where we read and discuss children's books published before 1975. Tha Halloween Tree is our read for this month. We're still fairly new though:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ChildrensBooksOfYesterday/

    If you have the time or the inclination I'd love to have you there!

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  3. I love the artwork on this book - it is just wonderful, so full of humor and whimsical details. Every time I read it I see something new - I love that in a picture book (especially because I tend to read picture books again and again).

    I would love to reread The Halloween Tree. Thanks for the link and the invite - I'll stop by!

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  4. "(The bicycle helmets are for the sloths. When the girl starts to ask, "Why would you need--" one of the sloths slips off its branch and lands on its head with a resounding kunk. The girl, unflappable as ever, simply says, "Right...bicycle helmets.""

    *giggles* love it already!

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  5. My sentiments, exactly!

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  6. when i was a kid, i pretty much expected animals to talk to me. this sounds like fun.

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  7. I'm sure the girls would love to read it to you!

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