cover image ZooZical


Judy Sierra, illus. by Marc Brown. Knopf, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-375-86847-4

Teens have Glee, tweens have High School Musical, and with this snappy follow-up to Wild About Books younger siblings can delight in the joy of putting on a show. When the book opens, the "midwinter doldrums" have descended on the zoo: "Owls did not give a hoot./ Pandas quit being cute./ Even penguins were surly./ The Zoo gates closed early." But a young hippo and a joey beat the blahs with a spirited, spontaneous dance, and entice the other creatures to stage a "ZooZical," a musical extravaganza that spotlights their many talents ("Bears walked the tightrope with elegant ease/ Flamingos whizzed by on the flying trapeze") and delights their human audience. With humor and gusto, Brown's richly textured folk art%E2%80%93inspired pictures convey the characters' dramatic shift in moods and imbue them with abundant personality. Meanwhile, Sierra's riffs on familiar tunes (rabbits sing "If you're hoppy and you know it, clap your paws..."; seals roll onstage on a bus, barking, "The seals on the bus go round and round...") guarantee that readings will be very musical affairs, with children enthusiastic participants. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Aug.)