It?s a great day to go to the zoo! As her family hustles to get out the door, Little T lags behind. She?s afraid to go back to the zoo; the only trouble is, she can?t remember why. As an ingenious solution to help her remember, her mom, dad, and sister construct homemade costumes and act out zoo animals?in alphabetical order, no less! The costumes and scenes grow increasingly elaborate and breathtakingly creative. An umbrella and bubble wrap magically transform into a jellyfish, bath towels and a can of soda ...
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It’s a great day to go to the zoo! As her family hustles to get out the door, Little T lags behind. She’s afraid to go back to the zoo; the only trouble is, she can’t remember why. As an ingenious solution to help her remember, her mom, dad, and sister construct homemade costumes and act out zoo animals—in alphabetical order, no less! The costumes and scenes grow increasingly elaborate and breathtakingly creative. An umbrella and bubble wrap magically transform into a jellyfish, bath towels and a can of soda become a parrot, and many, many more. At the end of the day, Little T has conquered her fear and no longer feels like a “fraidyzoo.” In this charming, witty picture book debut, Thyra Heder honors the bravery it takes to face your fears, and the loving people who help you do so.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 10/07/2013
Debut talent Heder comes up with a wildly imaginative idea for an alphabet book/animal guessing game, elaborates it with smartly drafted ink-and-watercolor spreads, and seasons it with plenty of family warmth and hullaballoo. Little T’s mother, father, and older sister discover that she’s reluctant to go the zoo, and they throw themselves into figuring out which animal she’s frightened of. Adorning themselves with common household objects, they go right through the alphabet. “Can it give itself showers?” her hyper older sister asks, with two plastic bags on her ears and her arm held up like an elephant’s trunk for E. “Maybe it’s pink?” asks her father, skipping across the room in a pink tutu and pink Post-its stuck to his fingers, a fetching flamingo F. The picture of a family working together to cheer up its tiniest member, the identifiable elements of all the costumes, and the unexpected creature that Little T actually fears (a middle-aged ticket taker with menacing fingernails) all ring true—and readers will come away with some fine animal costume ideas, too. Ages 4–8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Little T’s sister wakes her up on a perfect day for the zoo, but from Little T’s expression, the thought of the zoo only makes her apprehensive. The rest of the family is glad to go, but Little T admits that she is afraid of the zoo. She just cannot remember why. And so the family tries to guess. Through the alphabet they go, A to Z, costuming themselves and wildly acting out the possibilities. For example, Dad dresses in a tutu, asking whether it is pink as he mimes a flamingo for F. Her sister drapes green towels to make a head and beak, but Little T is not afraid of parrots, nor the zanily constructed rhino, or snake. It is not until they go to the zoo anyway that the mystery is solved and the family makes its own zoo at home. With the help of watercolors and ink, double pages form the stages for the family members and their wild concoctions from the stuff around the house. They are slightly stylized, active, believable characters, great fun to watch as they create. On the jacket/cover, the sisters use a pile of raw material for a “thing” assembled for action. Even the title is composed of scraps. And there’s more to study on the end pages. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—The cut-and-paste, handmade look and feel of this picture book underscores its thematic ode to creative problem solving. Little T is about to embark on a much-anticipated trip to the zoo with her family when she freezes up with fear. Her parents call time-out and undertake a laugh-out-loud, over-the-top attempt to pinpoint exactly which animal she seems to be afraid of. Utilizing household objects, recyclables, clothing, and everyday art materials, Mom, Dad, and sister construct a madcap, A-to-Z range of costumes to determine which creature could possibly be thwarting T's desire to go to the zoo. "Does it jump in the road?" asks Mom, holding V-shaped tongs to her head simulating deer's antlers; "Does it live in the tropics?" asks Dad, crawling around the floor in an iguana costume constructed with cardboard tubes and paper bags. And so on until nightfall, when T declares her fears banished and now wants to go to the zoo. (Who wouldn't, after all those entertaining theatrics?) But when they arrive the next day, an encounter with a certain zoo employee sends T's sister into a panic, an ironic twist to T's resolution of her own fears. The charming, detailed watercolor and ink illustrations really tell the story, and children will relish poring over them to guess the animal costumes and identify their construction materials. Pair this with titles such as Antoinette Portis's Not a Box (2006) and Not a Stick (2007, both HarperCollins) to jump-start kids' own creative juices.—Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VT
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-09-15
What kid is afraid of going to the zoo? Little T, that's who. To find out exactly which animal Little T is so afraid of, her parents and older sister strike poses with household props and act out the unnamed, alphabetic animals A to Z. Little T laughs and giggles at their mimicking antics, saying "No" to each of the monkeyshines. Of course she winds up joining in the fun, and the family makes it to the zoo. The surprise ending is a hoot and will have readers laughing out loud. The witty watercolor-and-ink illustrations invent humorous clues: Dad mimes "alligator" with his arms; big sister decorates an umbrella with bubble wrap and pink streamers to make a "jellyfish." Nuanced details add whimsy, such as a black-and-white cat that meanders in and out of the scenes. Though the animals are never labeled in the story, the rear endpapers present pictures of each creature pinned to a bulletin board. Q stands for Quetzal; N for Narwhal; U for Unicorn; X and Y for Xantis Yak; V for Vampire Bat. WARNING: Expect riotous buffoonery after reading this clever and original alphabet story, as kids will definitely want to "parrot" the examples. (Picture book. 4-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781613125397
  • Publisher: Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/5/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: NOOK Kids
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • File size: 13 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

Thyra Heder is a Brooklyn-based illustrator whose clients include Vogue, Johnny Walker, Match.com, Bonnaroo, Kenneth Cole, and many more. She storyboards for film and television, including the FX Network, PBS, and NOVA. She graduated from Brown University in 2006 with a degree in art semiotics. This is her first picture book.
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