My family is a zoo by K A Gerard

cover image

Ill. by Emma Dodd. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408869406
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour. Zoos. Families. Birth. Verse. The family is going on a journey. Dad's elephant is packed into the car, after all he has had him since he was three, then the story teller's big brown bear, sister's whale, and big brother's dinosaur. Each person gets into the car with their animal, and the reader will read the story told in a four line stanza telling of the new arrival in the car. By now the readers will be intrigued about just how these people and their animals are fitting into the car, and the humorous illustrations by Emma Dodd, show the car getting very full. A seemingly few simple strokes of her pen give priceless expressions on each of the family members as well as the animals, as they stop again for uncle and his penguin, the cousin and her kangaroo, aunt and her monkey. Adding a dog and his pet as well as a pair of polar bears means the car is absolutely stuffed full. There is truly not enough room for a pin. But the surprise ending means room will have to be found for the extra passengers.
Young readers will love reading this out loud, looking at the bright breezy illustrations, working out just where everyone will fit in the station wagon, and be amazed at the surprise at the end. Discussion will follow about zoos and the animals that are there, why the family owns all these animals, if indeed they are real animals, and where to go to from here with their extra luggage.
A great way to talk about happy involved families, owning a pet and the responsibilities involved, and the introduction of a new sibling or two to an already full family.
Fran Knight