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Review of The Way to the Zoo

burningham_this way to the zooThe Way to the Zoo
by John Burningham; 
illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Candlewick    40 pp.
8/14    978-0-7636-7317-8    $15.99

“All I have to do is leave you at home when I go out for a while and it looks as if you had the whole zoo in here!” cries Sylvie’s mother. Actually, there had been a zoo’s worth of creatures in the living room, though not by Sylvie’s intent. Nights ago, she found the zoo down a passage behind a door in her bedroom. She’s been bringing animals back for the night, but — being an orderly child — just a few at a time, and “only the smaller ones.” She did settle a mother tiger in a chair while her cub shared the bed, but ruled out penguins because they splashed too much. Then, just once, after Sylvie forgot to close the door, a whole crowd of creatures trooped in to watch television; still, she tried to clean up after them. With the true Burningham touch, Sylvie’s arrangements have both the impeccable childlike logic and the solid reality of the best fantasy. His loose, masterfully limned drawings are touched with scrumptious, harmonious hues — pure blue with elegant chartreuse, a black-raspberry chair with turquoise legs, various animals in benignly soft browns and grays. Just the thing to pair with other mayhem scenarios such as in The Cat in the Hat.

From the November/December 2014 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Joanna Rudge Long About Joanna Rudge Long

Joanna Rudge Long is former editor of Kirkus Reviews and a frequent lecturer on children’s books.

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