My Heart Is Like a Zoo

( 4 )

Overview

A heart can be hopeful, or silly, or happy. A heart can be rugged, or snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and debut author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with a delicate touch.

For each feeling, the bold, graphic artwork creates an animal out of heart shapes, from "eager as a beaver" to "angry as a bear" to "thoughtful as an owl." An accessible and beautiful debut, My Heart Is Like a Zoo is everything a classic ...

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Overview

A heart can be hopeful, or silly, or happy. A heart can be rugged, or snappy, or lonely. A heart holds every different feeling, and debut author-artist Michael Hall captures each one with a delicate touch.

For each feeling, the bold, graphic artwork creates an animal out of heart shapes, from "eager as a beaver" to "angry as a bear" to "thoughtful as an owl." An accessible and beautiful debut, My Heart Is Like a Zoo is everything a classic picture book should be: honest, sincere, and speaking directly to even the very youngest child.

Ages: 0 - 5

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Editorial Reviews

Robert Sabuda
“It stole my heart.”
Brian Selznick
“Starting with one simple shape, Michael Hall shows us a nearly infinite number of ways to make a menagerie of love.”
Chris Raschka
“Now hear this! The art in this book will astonish Earth!”
Laura Vaccaro Seeger
“Michael Hall’s My Heart Is Like a Zoo is a combination of deceptive simplicity and gorgeous graphic design. Colorful, fun, and thoroughly enjoyable.”
ALA Booklist
“The bold digital collages of zoo animals in this debut picture book are clear and bright, and the simple rhymes about feelings will have preschoolers savoring the words, joining in, and pointing at every playful zoo scene.”
Publishers Weekly
In his first book, Hall, a graphic designer, takes the idea of love being a many-splendored thing and runs with it straight to the animal kingdom. Using a heart shape as his core visual element, he creates a 20-member menagerie to illustrate the various facets of his affection: “My heart is like a zoo—/ eager as a beaver,/ steady as a yak,/ hopeful as a hungry heron fishing for a snack.” Not every poetic conceit works—there's a jarring quality to having one's heart described as “crafty as a fox” or “snappy as a crab”—and more sophisticated eyes may feel Hall could have used more variation in crafting his animals (the heart shape is used mostly as a head and some form of appendage). But children just learning about shapes will revel in these pages, thanks to Hall's masterful blending of bright, saturated colors, his posterlike compositions, and the sheer animal magnetism of the species he's chosen. Teachers will also find fodder for classroom activities when February rolls around. Up to age 5. (Jan.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Hall begins with animals peering through the outline of a heart on one side of a red double page. He then shows us zoo animals that include his heart shapes, one per single or double solid color page, as playful rhymed couplets describe their emotions relating to the feelings in his heart. They range from "eager as a beaver" and "…hopeful as a hungry heron fishing for a snake…" to "Brave as a lion, thoughtful as an owl, peaceful as a portly walrus lounging on a towel." The final spread shows all the tired animals at the end of a busy day settled on the shelves above a smiling sleeping youngster. Hall's talents as a graphic designer take on the challenge of basing the representations of twenty animals on heart shapes plus a few geometric shapes: black dots for eyes, triangles for beaks and tusks, etc. The delightfully imaginative creatures illuminate the terse text. The stencil-like animal parts are digitally created using aggressive combinations of non-textured colored shapes. For those readers tempted to try to produce similar creations, Hall demonstrates the birth of his lion on the back of the jacket, along with a challenge to count the more than 300 hearts. Do not miss the contrast of jacket and cover. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—This playful, rhyming concept book invites young readers to explore colors, shapes, emotions, and zoo animals. The crisp, succinct text is carefully crafted to tell a little about each animal; "Cool as a penguin/crafty as a fox,/quiet as a caterpillar/wearing knitted socks." The story skillfully wraps up with a young zookeeper fast asleep, surrounded by his stuffed-animal menagerie, which creates a fun identification challenge at the end. This book is perfect for younger audiences with short attention spans. The bold illustrations were digitally created and feature primary and secondary colors. More than 300 heart shapes form all of the animals featured, providing a simple, clean collage image on each page contrasted with a bright background. Spreads show hippos drinking apple juice, a bothered bull with a hornet in its hair, and a coyote walking in the fog. Readers will not only be engaged in the search for the hearts in each illustration, but will also relate to the feelings that are introduced. This title will have a wide audience, whether in a classroom, library, or at home. An outstanding choice for one-on-one sharing.—Anne Beier, Hendrick Hudson Free Library, Montrose, NY
Kirkus Reviews
Animals, adjectives and hearts-lots of hearts-combine in this bright, appealing selection, reminiscent of the works of Lois Ehlert. Digital art presents each animal in geometric form; comprised of colorful overlapping shapes, each simplified illustration includes a heart (or two or many). The text bounces along, introducing the animals and describing each with a suitable adjective. "My heart is like a zoo," it begins, " . . . eager as a beaver, / steady as a yak . . . ," concluding with "tired as a zookeeper who's had a busy day" (the final illustration depicts a child cuddled up with a plethora of stuffed animals). Animals range from an owl and a lion to a clam and a moose. Between the zoology and the vocabulary, it's good for the classroom and a comforting goodnight book to boot. (Picture book. 3-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061915109
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/22/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 98,649
  • Age range: 4 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 11.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Hall

Michael Hall is the creator of the nationally best-selling picture book My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the acclaimed Perfect Square and Cat Tale. He lives with his family in Minnesota.

Michael Hall is the creator of the nationally best-selling picture book My Heart Is Like a Zoo, as well as the acclaimed Perfect Square and Cat Tale. He lives with his family in Minnesota.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    from Missprint DOT wordpress DOT com

    Hundreds of hearts come together to shape some animals both familiar and exotic in this rhyming romp through the various phases of a child's heart before they retire after a busy day (as busy as a zookeeper's even!).

    My Heart is Like a Zoo (2010) by Michael Hall introduces children to a variety of new concepts beyond emotions and feelings. The varied palette for both animals and backgrounds can introduce colors as easily as the animals themselves can be used for a counting exercise. Hall uses hearts and the occasional circle or rectangle to create all of the artwork inviting children to identify the various shapes and try to make some shape animals of their own. The large text and boldly colored artwork carry wide appeal as do Hall's clever turns of phrase about steady yaks and happy hippos.

    And, of course, as the cover shows very nicely the book is totally adorable! Hall's artwork and writing is fantastic and elevates what could have been a twee, simple book into a complex and entertaining picture book for readers of all ages.

    An attractive, versatile book My Heart is Like a Zoo is guaranteed to become a story time favorite.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    My Heart is Like a Zoo

    My students loved this book. We read it as a class and we spent several minutes on each page trying to count how many hearts were in each animal. One of my favorite responses after reading a story is "Again". This book is one of those books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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