Dear Zoo



Another well loved classic this book was first published back in 1982 meaning there are most likely people out there who, having enjoyed it as a child, are now getting it for their own children – yikes! I can see why though…

Why is it so good?

The key with this book is its mix of simplicity and novelty. The narrator writes to the zoo to send him a pet and the zoo sends a series of candidates each of which is rejected for a different reason until finally the perfect pet is found. Tiny fingers will love the fact that each new candidate is revealed by lifting a flap. Also since the names of the animals are not in the text the listener must fill them in further engaging the child in the whole experience. My kids can’t get enough of this one. We had it out of the library so often I eventually had to buy one. I got the board book as my toddler gets a little ‘enthusiastic’ opening the flaps. Be a little careful if buying as there are many spin off versions – animals version, touch and feel, noisy book etc. – that have their merits but only the original has the flaps which are key to its enjoyment in our house.

And in school?

A nice book for junior classes, the guessing game for each animal is key. Also discussing why each animal wouldn’t make a suitable pet can elicit good vocabulary development. If you are in the mood for making resources, a game for matching each animal to its container would also be good.

A nice project would be for the class to write a new version with different animals and why they are unsuitable. This could be lovely as a group collage project with the added element of construction for the lift the flap containers.

Alternately each student could draw their perfect pet (real or imagined) and describe why it’s so perfect. Mine would be a unicorn for sheer wow factor! 😎


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