The Kids are Coming to the Zoo Tomorrow
Written: Feb 13, 2008
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
Pros:Clever re-use of a familiar rhyme, introduction to animals, educational material
Cons:Adaptations in story could match up more with those in activities
The Bottom Line: Read this fun story before going to the zoo with young children, or following a zoo trip, and use it to share observations and prompt their own stories.
Daddy's takin' us to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, Daddy's takin' us to the zoo tomorrow, and we can stay all day!* All children love learning about animals, particularly the big, scary wild animals of legend found in zoos. I suspect that if given the opportunity to identify their most favorite places to visit they would say zoos. That knowledge provides the inspiration for Catherine Ipcizades book Twas the day Before Zoo Day. Just what does go on behind the scenes?
Set to a familiar rhyme readers see what might happen before the zoo opensIm certain youll recognize the story.
"Twas the day before Zoo Day, when all round the park,
The creatures felt restless and wished it were dark.
Zoo rangers all scurried to get things prepared.
Flamingos stood antsy on one leg and stared."
Before the kids arrive with their cameras the monkeys might practice dancing, singing, and hanging upside down. Giraffes drink and slurp water with their blue tongues (they try not to burp) and the llamas are asked to be polite and not spit.
Through the clever use of Clement Moores story, young readers are introduced to a variety of zoo animals and hypothetical thoughts about what might happen behind the scenes. They not only see some animals being silly, but watch zoo keepers at work. The two zoo keepers in this story need to keep the elephants in line, although I think the elephants won when they showered the keepers. They scrubbed and bathed elephants, fed turtles, cleaned up doodoo, threw food to the bear family, and scolded llamas.
She introduces some adaptations and behaviors in the rhyme and children are encouraged to listen,
"The lions just slept, not a care to be found
Their heads on their paws, they nestled the ground
When youre king of the jungle, these things are okay,
So they sleep and they sleep--20 hours each day."
This zoo also has rhinos, African meerkats, toucans, alligators, and zebras, as well as snakes, geckos, and antelopes. At the end of the day the keepers say goodbye and before long its show time for the animals and Daddys bringing everyone into the zoo.
The author created a playful story drawing inspiration from the classic holiday poem and her own childs interests, while illustrator, Bill Hodson creates charming, friendly, and mischievous zoo animals. His attention to detail encourages young readers to look closely and many will enjoy the mouse that follows the zookeepers through their day. The combination of story, rhyme, and illustrations should have most readers giggling and eager to visit the zoo. While at the zoo they will be watching the animalsis the giraffes tongue really blue?
Sylvan Dell Publishing
Home school parents and teachers appreciate the books Creative Minds section and online Learning Links that guide the learning experience. Focusing on adaptations, one activity matches animal images to the appropriate adaptation. Which animal has long, curved claws and long tongue that helps it grab insects? For the educational content I would have liked tighter alignment between the adaptation mentioned in the story and the adaptation identified in the matching activity--especially for the younger readers.
The Creative Minds section includes the books last four pages. Animal Fun Facts and (animal, class, babies are called, birth weight, family group, and food type) and images extend the learning. Online you can get learning standards and 33 pages of activities appropriate for early elementary grades, and links to great website. While I think the language arts and comprehension suggestions will be greatly appreciated by any teacher, the coloring pages will be loved by all. These are taken from the book.
As always, I rave about the Sylvan Dell books and their attention to detail and to the needs of educators who want quality science books for the younger elementary grades. No, this is not an accurate depiction of what really happens in the zoo, but it does provide an age-appropriate introduction. The clever re-use of the Clement Moore story, combined with the zoo experience and the introductions to zoo animals, makes this a winner. I recommend this for first and second grade use in classrooms, but also for just reading to three and four year olds.
*I first heard Tom Paxtons song sung by my sister-in-law, who probably first heard it from a recording by Peter, Paul, and Mary many years ago.
Educational activities can be found at www.sylvandellpublishing.com. Just select the book and follow the links.
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