My School's a Zoo!

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Overview

Every school has its share of bookworms.

Some schools have bugs in their computers.

And lots of schools have spelling bees. But this school has bears. This school has owls. This school is a ZOO!

Imagination runs wild in this fun-filled story about a school packed with pythons, teeming with tigers, and swimming with starfish. Stu Smith's lively text and David Catrow's ...

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Overview

Every school has its share of bookworms.

Some schools have bugs in their computers.

And lots of schools have spelling bees. But this school has bears. This school has owls. This school is a ZOO!

Imagination runs wild in this fun-filled story about a school packed with pythons, teeming with tigers, and swimming with starfish. Stu Smith's lively text and David Catrow's hilarious art will have kids looking at school -- and words -- in a whole new way!

The morning after a trip to the zoo, a young boy wakes up to find that everywhere he goes and everyone he knows have become an animal, from zebras at breakfast, lions in the lunchroom, to hyenas on the playground.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In an over-the-top and yet familiar romp, a schoolboy narrator wakes up the day after a field trip to the zoo and becomes convinced that everyone familiar has been replaced with an obnoxious animal. His baby sister, now a furry quadruped, eats his homework; the school nurse, a vampire bat, hangs upside-down in her office (the sign next to her reads "Please give blood today"). "There were starfish on my papers,/ and a beaver cleaned the boards," writes Smith (Dinosaur Hide-and-Seek). "The seal clapped two erasers,/ while a fox gave out awards." The boy finally snaps out of his waking nightmare at the end of the school day ("Things seemed back to normal,/ with my sister eating sand"), but wonders how his overactive imagination will cope with the next field trip, to see a "dinosaur display." Catrow (The Fungus That Ate My School) once again puts a giddy spin on common school situations, but his fondness for odd angles, extreme exaggeration and over-the-top detail seems to have gotten the best of him this time: the spreads feel overpacked and unfocused. Still, it's hard to resist another one of the illustrator's weirdly winsome, hyper-expressive protagonists; fans will appreciate his pictures of the boy trying to keep his cool despite vultures in the lunchroom and a computer lab filled with real mice and bugs. Ages 5-8. (July) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Yesterday's trip to the zoo leaves the narrator feeling strange—the following morning his family's different; his sister eats his homework. That is only the beginning, though. When he gets to school, instead of the usual teachers and students, he's surrounded by a menagerie. In addition to the goats, lizards, pythons, yaks and other animals, mice are hanging out in the computer lab and there are worms in every library book. Finally, after a harrowing day and a dreadful bus ride home between two stinky skunks, the narrator finds that things seem to have gone back to normal. But he really hopes that the next field trip—to the dinosaur display—won't have the same effect. Smith's engaging verse combines with David Catrow's hilariously clever illustrations to elevate this picture book to a whole new level of art. Children and adults alike can find a lot to enjoy in this brilliant book about the power of imagination. 2004, HarperCollins, Ages 5 to 8.
—Ravay Snow-Renner
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Following a field trip to the zoo, a boy wakes up to find that everyone in his world has turned into an animal. His day grows wackier by the hour as ordinary situations are turned upside down, from breakfast with a zebra and rhino (his parents) to lions in the lunchroom and hyenas on the playground. Then, just as abruptly, things return to normal, leaving him to worry about the next field trip: a visit to a dinosaur display. While the rhyming text is unexceptional, Catrow's illustrations are full of fun, overflowing with eccentric creatures large and small that imbue the book with unrestrained merriment. A visual delight for storytimes.-Teri Markson, Stephen S. Wise Temple Elementary School, Los Angeles Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A lad's world is transformed the morning after a zoo visit: his parents "snort and drool" at the breakfast table, the substitute teacher is literally a bear, the computers in the lab are swarming with giant "bugs" of the creepy-crawly kind, and so on. As in Dorros's The Fungus That Ate My School (2000), Catrow's lurid green-and-yellow scenes boil with action; each room the worried young narrator passes is filled with leering, overweight, self-absorbed creatures, all rendered in lovingly oogy detail. Not the most expert of versifiers, Smith sometimes inserts lines just to make a rhyme-"The lunchroom sure was crowded, / and the aides looked pretty mean. / The lions and the wildebeest / were causing quite a scene." And there's not much in the way of actual plot, either. Still, the general premise is a crowd-pleaser, properly wrapped up with a closing remark about an upcoming trip to a dinosaur exhibit. Uh-oh. (Picture book. 7-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060285104
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
  • Publication date: 6/29/2004
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.32 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Stu Smith has been an elementary school teacher for the past seventeen years. He lives in Pittsford, NY with his wife and two children.
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