Thursday, August 27, 2009

What's New At The Zoo? by Suzanne Slade

What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure by Suzanne Slade
Illustrated By: Joan Waites
Geared Towards: Ages 4-8
Published By: Sylvan Dell
Publication Date: Fall 2009
ISBN: 978-1-934359-93-8

Coming from a household where frequent trips to visit the animals at the zoo is practically mandatory, there was no thought involved when I accepted the review opportunity for this book. What's New At The Zoo? An Animal Adding Adventure, written by Suzanne Slade, is a zoo lover's delight.

On this animal adventure, readers travel through the zoo checking out each animal habitat and counting to see how many are in each. From elephants, to giraffes, to penguins and more. Readers get the opportunity to visit eleven different animal exibits, and in each they get the opportunity to learn both the name for the adult and for the baby. It's great fun because, as opposed to a regular picture book, What's New At The Zoo? is more than just a cute story. It's a story that makes you pay attention and think, but it doesn't do so in a way that makes it any less enjoyable than it's traditional counterpart. Quite the opposite in fact.

Both my girls, ages 3 and 5, couldn't get enough of this book. The colorful illustrations, by Joan Waites, and Slade's rythmic text is enough to draw any reader in. Then when you consider the mathematical question posed in each two page layout, it's like factoring in a game to the equation. Even my youngest daughter, who isn't really all that familiar with addition yet was totally able to work through the questions. She might not fully grasp the concept of these math skills yet, but because it was written in to the story like a game she found it fun and wanted to try it. Another fun aspect of the book was that Waites cleverly included a single soaring red balloon hidden in each picture. Both of my girls, but especially the youngest, had fun seeking it out in every animal's scene. That's what makes this book so great. It has appeal for both the younger and older readers.

And anyone who is familiar with Sylvan Dell's fabulous line knows none is complete without the brilliant "For Creative Minds" educational section always included at the back of each book. What's especially great about this particular "Creative Minds" section is that the publisher has offered some wonderful, real world, learning advice that is practical and not just fun to know but actually something they'll need to know. It explains and demonstrates two different methods of addition, adding everything in groups of ten and also adding by columns. There's also a section that offers short mathematical problems and then uses a number fact family triangle to help illustrate the problems. It's hard to explain, but trust me it's cool. Something like this will be an incredibly useful tool for a math beginner.

Plus, since this is a book all about animals, this section wouldn't be complete without a part dedicated just to them. Last but not least readers will enjoy learning the classification of each animal and doing the Animal Matching Activity. In this area you are given a thumbnail size picture of each animal and a list of eleven animal fun facts which you must then match together. Readers who paid attention during the story will have picked up the name for each baby animal, making this puzzle a cinch.

Parents and educators want to be sure to take advantage of the free online resources and training tools offered at Sylvan Dell for this and, I believe, all their delightful kids books. View a virtual preview of the book, hear a segment read aloud, download copies of the "For Creative Minds" section to print, or even have your child take a quiz (Reading, Comprehension, or Math) about what he/she learned from the book.

There's just no other way to say it than, you can't go wrong with this or any of the other marvelous titles from Sylvan Dell. You just can't!

OUR RATING: 5 hearts


Anonymous said...

Yaaaay! Now, this is a great review! Thank you thank you! And don't forget: we're in the middle of a free trial of all 45 Sylvan Dell eBooks until October 31. So check 'em out here: Again, thank you thank you! Wonderful review, Rebekah! And tell everyone about the eBooks. I mean, who doesn't like free stuff? :)

RebekahC said...

Aww thanks! :)

And, great minds think alike, cause I was already in the process of writing up a separate post about the e-book trial. Woot! I'll hopefully have it posted later today or at worst by tomorrow. Had a lot going on today, and not enough time to be on the computer.