Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell – Book Review

Dear Zoo by Rod CampbellTwo things are striking about the front cover of Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell.

The red cage with the hint of the tiger beneath draws the attention of youngsters and the phrase “A Lift-the-Flap Book” is attractive to all parents of curious children.

The copy of Dear Zoo I read to my daughter was also emblazoned with a fake stamp proclaiming the book as a special 25th Anniversary Edition of the text originally published in 1982.

Despite having just a sentence on each of the 18 pages, Dear Zoo has a cute story line. The narrator writes to the zoo asking for a pet. Each day the zoo sends a pet. Until the end of the book there is something wrong with every pet and the narrator sends it back.

On the very last page the zoo sends the perfect pet.

Every page has the same design. The left-hand side includes black text on a white background and the right-hand side has a lift-the-flap design with an animal hidden underneath. In addition to the cute, simple drawings of animals, each flap is illustrated to match the animal. The elephant is behind a crate labeled “very heavy” while the monkey peeks out from behind a yellow box.

Lift-the-flaps are fun in all books, but the combination of colors and unique designs makes the flaps especially attractive in Dear Zoo. Arya really liked staring the red cage hiding the lion. She also tried to play with the flaps throughout the book, but she had difficulty opening them on her own since they require sideways pressure with a finger.

The book was fun for my four-month old baby, but it would also be entertaining for a child up to kindergarten age. Kids old enough to read will also like the rhythmic text with basic vocabulary. Dear Zoo is a great book and I look forward to reading it many times to Arya over the coming years.

Dear Zoo costs (including shipping) under $7 new and under $5 used from Amazon.