cover image The Way to the Zoo

The Way to the Zoo

John Burningham. . Candlewick, $15.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-7636-7317-8

With his characteristically diffident line, Burningham (Picnic) draws Sylvie, a resourceful girl who discovers a door in her room that leads directly to the zoo. She's not interested in visiting; instead, she offers hospitality. "Sylvie asked a little bear to come back with her. He did and slept in her bed." The bandy-legged bear cub, seen holding Sylvie's hand as she leads him home, looks a bit hesitant, but the next page shows the two blissfully asleep under Sylvie's duvet. As long as Sylvie remembers to bring the animals back to the zoo, and to close the door before she leaves for school, the nighttime exchanges can continue. Penguins are bathed and dried, assorted tropical birds doze on the furniture, and a mother tiger spends the night in an armchair. With hushed colors and a gossamer touch, Burningham provides just enough conflict to keep things interesting, especially when Sylvie forgets to close the door one morning. The result is a story that offers much of the same marvelous drollery as Philip and Erin Stead's A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Ages 3%E2%80%937. (Aug.)