cover image The Zoo I Drew

The Zoo I Drew

Todd H. Doodler. Random House Books for Young Readers, $14.99 (56pp) ISBN 978-0-375-85201-5

This animal alphabet book looks promising, starting with its bright red corrugated cover that evokes an old-fashioned sketchbook. The portraits of zoo favorites, set against single color backdrops, are both winsome and graphically bold, bringing to mind rubber bathtub toys. But pictures with this much pop beg for a text with equally memorable verse, and Doodler-actually Todd Harris Goldman (Boys Are Stupid, Throw Rocks at Them!)-does not provide it. The verses rhyme, technically, but the word choices are weak and the rhythms uneven. His lines on the vulture, for example, are clunky: ""With a bald, wrinkled head,/ It's called a bird of prey./ I just don't understand why/ The vulture doesn't wear a wig or toupee."" The text repeatedly falls far short of the book's eye-catching design. Ages 2-5.