Twas' the Day Before Zoo Day by Catherine Ipcizade
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Sylvan Dell
Publication Date: February 2008
Twas' the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore was always one of my favorite Christmas stories to read. I loved the rhyming lines, and the jaunty flow. When I was given the opportunity to review a few books for Sylvan Dell I immediately had to raise my hand for the book Twas' the Day Before Zoo Day by Catherine Ipcizade for that very reason. Nevermind that my family loves going to the zoo, and we go countless times every year - so much so that we more than pay for our membership several times over. I wondered though would a book with a play on the title like this end up following in some format the story of Moore's I've grown to love over the years? The answer, when the book arrived, was a quick and unequivocal, 'yes'.
The way the author wrote the story has a very similar feel. I couldn't help but read the lilting text in the same way I would read the text from Moore's Twas' the Night Before Christmas. The story itself though is, obviously, about something entirely different than Moore's. Instead of getting ready for Christmas morning and a visit from Santa, in Twas' the Day Before Zoo Day readers follow the zoo staff around as they prep the zoo for a visiting class field trip. They feed and wash the animals, clean the grounds and even lecture the animals on how to behave. The animals, meanwhile, take it all in stride. Some get excited, yet others maintain their lazy disinterested position (just like they do when you're actually there visiting them).
This was cute and very cleverly thought out. My 3 yr old daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed the illustrations by Ben Hodson, but I will say of all them I really didn't care for the monkeys or gorillas. Pretty minor complaint there though. So, no worries.
Another plus factor to mention about this book, is like with the other Sylvan Dell titles we've had the pleasure of reading/reviewing this one comes with a fun and handy "For Creative Minds" section in the back. These extra four pages provide educational information that kids will both learn from and enjoy. On the first two pages they can play a matching game. Readers can read the habitat and survival clues to help determine which animal picture it belongs to. Younger children who aren't yet old enough to follow along with the facts can simply tell you the name of each animal as they go through the picture list. On the third page readers will find an extensive list of Animal Fun Facts for the animals featured in the story. They'll learn which class each falls into (bird, mammal, amphibian, etc), what the baby is called, weight at birth, family group (herd, band, pride, etc), and what they eat (omnivore, herbivore, etc). Again this might be a little advanced for the younger readers in the group, but it's a great teaching tool that even they can benefit from. Last but not least, on the fourth page there is a fun fact section about Zoo Keepers and what their jobs entail. Then at the bottom there's a fill in the blank section with five questions your child can read and respond to regarding animals and taking care of them.
With as much as my girls love animals and trips to the zoo, I know this book is sure to become a regularly read selection in this house.
Thanks again to Sylvan Dell for the opportunity!
OUR RATING: 4 hearts