Perfect Picture Book Friday – 1 Zany Zoo by Lori Degman

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because this is a great book that makes learning to count fun!

1 Zany Zoo

By Lori Degman

Illustrated by  Colin Jack

32 pages – ages 3+

Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on July 20, 2010

Theme/Topic – Animals/Counting

Opening and Synopsis – “While YOU stood here waiting, with nothing to do,
I snuck through the gate and into the zoo.
You’ll never believe what I saw – what I heard. I swear it’s the truth – every last word.”

A little boy waiting in line for the zoo to open, sneaks into the zoo through a hidden gate. What he see is that the zoo isn’t quite ready to open yet. The fox has escaped, the zebras are swimming with the walruses and the beavers are cooking chilli! All the animals are going ZANY while the zookeeper tries to get them to behave.

Why I liked this book – What kid wouldn’t want to get into the zoo before it opens and see what is going on?!? This is a hilarious book! The rhyme is perfect and it is very fun to read out loud. The illustrations are great! They are as funny as the story and go with it well.

Along with the great story and illustrations, kids will learn how to count to ten. I think that the animals and their wacky behavior will help kids remember their numbers!

Activities and Resources –

I found a cool game on This LINK takes you to a printable sheet that has different animal patterns (zebra, tiger, giraffe and cheetah) and then  you have your kids match the pattern to the animal.

I also found a Zoo animal counting sheet at the same website. You have to count the animals on the sheet and circle the right answer. The sheet can be downloaded HERE.

The best activity I can think of is to take your kids to the zoo and count the animals yourselves! You can get a notebook and pencils and have your child record the animals he/she sees, how many and maybe draw a picture of them. EVEN BETTER – I know the Philadelphia Zoo has sleep over events where you actually get to sleep in the zoo! You also get to see some of the behind the scenes things that go on in the zoo. You can read about the Philadelphia Zoo’s program HERE, or you can check to see if your local zoo has a similar program…OK OK you won’t be sleeping out in Philly at this time of year, but maybe you live where it is warm  and you can go to your zoo or you can remember about it for when the weather is nice again. 🙂

To learn more about Ms. Degman, please visit her website by clicking HERE.

**Note – I won a copy of this book for Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge and decided to review it  🙂

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE

Categories: Age 1-5

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29 replies

  1. Sounds like a really fun book! Beavers cooking chilli? What a fun idea that the animals behave so differently when we aren’t watching. Thanks so much for sharing.

    Paul R. Hewlett

  2. What fun! Our zoo actually lets members in early a few times a year. It really makes us feel like we are “behind the scenes.”

  3. Sleeping at the zoo! The thought itself is utterly yummy! This sounds like a fun read, Erik. I’d actually never thought of what would be going on during the lock-out hours at the zoo until I read your review. Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  4. What’s not to like about this one, Erik? Zoo animals doing such wacky things and awesome rhyme! Such fun and I would love to do a zoo sleepover!

  5. Oh the zany things that can be discovered before a place isn’t ready to be open 🙂

  6. Great activity suggestions, Erik – and pick!

  7. This book looks like such fun! Thanks for reviewing it, Erik! Neat to see a friend’s book, too!

  8. I love Lori’s book, Erik. It is so much fun. She and I were in a critique group together at a conference. She is a lot of fun.

  9. Love this book, and just when I am about to take a young nephew to the Zoo to. It reminds me of when I took a little niece some years ago to the Zoo and while we were there it was believed a young orangatang escaped. We were just by its enclosure and along with others we were herded into a barn for our safety until they found the orangatang…lol. It was scary and exciting, especially for my niece. Thanks for reminding me of what fun can be had at the Zoo.

  10. Thanks so much for the awesome review, Erik! I love the idea of a zoo sleepover! I think I’ll do one – then write a book about it 🙂 Actually, I just got a great idea from this – it is now my PiBoIdMo #24! Thanks!

  11. I love this book! Lori is an extremely talented rhymer and storyteller! She has skills folks! Thanks for the great review, Erik!

  12. My sister lives a few miles from a farm zoo, some nights she can hear the lions roar. I think sleeping overnight in a zoo would be scary! Fun but … scary!

  13. What a great book, Erik! I think all of us would love to have a chance to go to a zoo or museum when no one else was there. 🙂 My husband and I once went on a company trip…and part of the trip was an evening at an aquarium after it had closed…what fun to have the whole place to ourselves…just our group of about 2 dozen people. 😉
    Thanks for a wonderful review and terrific resource list!

  14. This book sounds like such fun! The illustrations look great, too! You included some excellent resources to go with the book. 🙂

  15. Well, Erik, I’ve always wanted to spend a night at the museum, but never thought of a zoo. Good one!

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