Thursday 6 January 2022

Dear Zoo: Celebrating 40 Years

Dear Zoo: Celebrating 40 Years by Rod Campbell (Pan Macmillan) HB RRP $14.99 ISBN 9781529074932

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Forty years after it was first published, Dear Zoo is still going strong. This small board book for infants features lift-the-flaps. It starts with the words, ‘I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet. They sent me an…’ and on the opposite page is a picture of a wooden crate labelled ‘From the Zoo’ and with the word ‘too heavy.’ The small reader is invited to open the crate to discover… an elephant. (‘He was too big! I sent him back.’)

Each double-page spread then tells of another animal sent to the reader. The next page, the animal is too tall, followed by an animal ‘too fierce’. And so, it goes on until the final lift-the-flap where there is an animal which is ‘perfect.’

The repetition of words on each page allows for a rhythmic pace and there’s no doubt a small child would love opening the various containers. The illustrations, in bright colours, allow lots of white space around them.

This is a book which is sure to be read to a small child again and again, and which is sure to delight them.

Rod Campbell, the creator of preschool favourites including Oh Dear! and Noisy Farm, has been a trusted name in early learning for over forty years. A perennial classic, Dear Zoo has been a firm favourite with toddlers and parents alike since its first publication in 1982.

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