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Author: Catherine Ipcizade

Illustrator: Ben Hodson

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Publisher: Sylvan Dell Publishing,

Material: hard cover

Summary: The zoo and all the animals prepare for a big day of visitors. Using the familiar Twas the Night Before Christmas rhyme, we meet the animals in the zoo.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 3 to 7; read yourself: 6 to 8

Interest Level: 3 to 6

Reading Level: 2.2

Age of Child: Read with 3-year-old boy.

Young Reader Reaction: My son loved identifying all the animals. He responded strongly to the bright colors, too. This is one he wanted to read again, and he loved attempting to describe what was happening in the picture. He learned more animal identifications and became more comfortable (read: less scared) of new, strange animals.

Adult Reader Reaction: I liked this book. The pictures are colorful and fun. I also love the bonus exercises (matching, animal facts, etc.) in the back.

Pros: This is colorful and fun. Kids will love that all the animals are smiling and nice, not scary looking. The science/learning material at the end is great.

Cons: The end of the story was a little anti-climatic, partially because they were trying to fit the pattern of Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a book that will have a long shelf life. Young, pre-readers will love the pages and the story; as they get older there is lots more they can enjoy and learn.


Educational Themes: There is lots to explore with this book, from animal identification to animal facts. It also encourages letter recognition and sound, such as "what letter does turtle start with?" It wouldn't take much to draw out themes of manners, either (llamas and spitting, giraffes and burping, etc.).

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - animal characters, picture book, nature, science, rhyme

Date(s) Reviewed: July 2008, January 2015

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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