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ABOUT THE BOOK The Lending Zoo
Author: Frank Asch
Published by: Aladdin
Ages: 4-8 years
From the Publisher: “Miss Perkins is happy to be the librarian at The Lending Zoo, a ‘zoo-brary’ that lends out all types of animals—from massive elephants to majestic giraffes. Everything usually goes smoothly: water buffaloes, snakes, parrots, and more are checked out and returned without a problem. But one sunny day Pancake, the tiger, goes missing and Miss Perkins along with her new friend Molly must go on a citywide search to find him! Will they be able to track him down before he causes a commotion all over town?”
Description: The idea of a Lending Zoo is so creative that the story pulls you in with the first page, where we meet Miss Perkins, the “zoo-brarian”. The action starts quickly when you find out that the tiger is missing! Molly, a little girl who was waiting to check out an animal, asks to tag along on the search for the missing animal. Miss Perkins and Molly travel all over, wondering if they’ll find the missing tiger. To add to the suspense, there is the question of what animal Molly was at the Lending Zoo to check out!
Though it came out earlier this year, this book already seems like a classic – the illustrations look timeless, with quirky modern elements like Miss Perkins’ scooter.
My Experience: I read this aloud to my son and we both enjoyed the story! The illustrations are bright and cheery, and it’s fun to travel along on the scavenger hunt with Miss Perkins and Molly. We liked taking in the detailed illustrations on every page, because so much is happening – you can see what animals patrons are checking out, read the names of the animals on their shelves, and see what each person is doing as Miss Perkins and Molly pass by. It might sound like a “seek and find” book since the tiger is missing, but the point of the search isn’t to find the tiger on the page yourself – instead, take in the people in each scene, see what they’re doing. There are so many opportunities to talk with your kid as you read this book, and doing so only adds to the story because the elements are featured so prominently in the illustrations.
· The overall concept of the book! How cool is a Lending Zoo?
· The detailed illustrations, where there are no faceless blobs for crowd scenes, but instead developed people doing different activities
· The lack of a definite ending. Though the story is resolved, the action continues on in the Lending Zoo, showing that this was just one thing that happens in a day.
How to Use it with kids: The concept of a Lending Zoo is one kids will love, so this book opens the floor for a lot of conversation.
- Ask kids what animals (real or imaginary!) they would check out of the Lending Zoo. What does this animal eat? What does it look like? Have them draw pictures of the animal.
- Have kids identify the animals on each page.
- Read-alikes featuring the zoo: Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann or Put Me In the Zoo by Robert Lopshire.
- Read-alikes featuring unique pets: Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo by William Joyce or Hiding Phil by Eric Barclay.
About the Author / Illustrator:
Frank Asch’s first book was published in 1968. Since then, he has written over 60 books, most famously the Moonbear picture books.