cover image I Went to the Zoo

I Went to the Zoo

Rita Golden Gelman. Scholastic, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-590-45882-5

Gelman produces a sure kid-pleaser with this slap-happy story, a sort of fantasy version of ``Old MacDonald.'' It begins, ``The other day I went to the zoo / It was a silly thing to do / The pandas were sitting / The camels were spitting / They were as bored as bored could be. / `Come home,' I said. `Come home with me.' '' The sequence is repeated nine times, on each occasion adding two new animals, for a grand total of 20 animals and their various behaviors, all relayed in rollicking rhyme. Eventually, the animals go home with the boy narrator, create quite a mess and are returned to the zoo. The musicality of Gelman's verse and the popularity of the narrative conceit--releasing zoo animals--will earn children's devotion. Kovalski's funny and friendly soft pencil drawings will entertain presiding adults as well (witness her sight gag involving two Dominican nuns, penguins and panda bears). Ages 3-7. (Sept.)