* Every Tuesday we introduce you to a favorite book from our secret book room, and give you a unique “recipe for fun” this week over on our Book Cook page.
Today’s great book: If Anything Ever Goes Wrong at the Zoo by Mary Jean Hendrick with illustrations by Jane Dyer (1993, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
Time to Read: short and sweet; bedtime or anytime
Summary: from the Kirkus Review – “Every Saturday, Leslie makes an eponymous offer to one of the zookeepers: “…you can send the zebras to my house.” They promise to remember but aren’t encouraging (“Oh, no…Monkeys…need things to swing on”). Then something does go wrong–heavy rains, flooding–and, one memorable night, the keepers bring the animals to Leslie’s hilltop home, where they put the elephants in the garage, the monkeys on the swing-set, an alligator in the tub, ostriches in the hall–but just for the night. The keepers are grateful; Mom is surprised but polite: “The next time you invite friends home, would you check with me first?” It’s a simple, enticing idea, gracefully and logically developed by this new author and ably abetted by Dyer’s watercolors, which nicely capture the animals’ appeal and the cozy, dependable family so willing to take them in. A real charmer. (Picture book. 4-8)”
Best Quote from the Book: “I’m glad I remembered that if anything ever went wrong at the zoo, we could bring the animals to your house.”
Our View: One of the ways in which I have chosen books for our children is to base the choice upon things we like to do in real life – and going to the zoo was always a treat, especially when the kids were little. That’s why this book is so special to me and often helped me wind up a great visit to the zoo with this bedtime story. It brought a connection to the events of the day and a funny way of thinking about what might happen if they really decided to bring one of those animals home for the weekend! I really do enjoy reading this particular book to the girls just before bedtime. With three daughters five years apart in age, I have had the pleasure of reading and re-reading it to them for more than 16 years now. It has even become part of our family’s lexicon whenever we talk or visit zoos and it never fails to get the younger children talking about what it would be like to have such things as elephants in our garage and lions in our closet and monkeys on our swingset.
Remember to visit our Book Cook page for the recipe – Animal Crackers! – created by the kids to accompany this particular book.