cover image What’s New? The Zoo! A Zippy History of Zoos

What’s New? The Zoo! A Zippy History of Zoos

Kathleen Krull, illus. by Marcellus Hall. Scholastic/Levine, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-545-13571-9

From their beginnings as private collections of the rich and powerful to the mass attractions and conservation hubs they are today, zoos have an interesting and sometimes odd history, as Krull (the Lives of... series) details. From Indonesia to Italy, Sweden to San Diego, colorful headings on each page introduce a place and year where zoo history was made, and a short paragraph follows (in 16th-century Afghanistan and India, “Akbar the Great treats his one thousand cheetahs more kindly than most people of his time. To care for them and the other animals he befriends, he builds zoos much grander than any in Europe in the lands he conquers”). Readers learn about a holy water–spraying elephant in Rome in 1513 and a hairdo-inspiring giraffe in 1827 France. Hall’s (Everyone Sleeps) ink-and-watercolor illustrations, vignettelike in their half-page displays, feature expressive eyes on both animals and humans in many spreads. The art’s spare, naïve style fits the brief-text format as the narrative moves briskly and chronologically through some highlights of zoo history, avoiding any controversial aspects. Kids of all ages will be left craving a trip to the zoo. Ages 4–8. (June)