PreS-Gr 2—This zany picture book follows a boy who attends a concert next to the zoo. Bored with the performance, he begins dozing off when suddenly the animals take over the stage. "The lions and the elephants,/the bears and the raccoons/will steal away the trumpets,/the flutes and bassoons,/replace the musicians, and chase them away/Then they'll sit in the band shell/and play." The humorous verse is full of zoo creatures and instruments that children will likely want to learn more about. The digital artwork matches the tone and text perfectly. Children will be giggling at both the song and the illustrations, such as the one of a hippo playing a tuba. This would be a great storytime book, and it even includes a CD of Lithgow singing the tune with an orchestra.—Brooke Rasche, La Crosse Public Library, WI
After a boy falls asleep at an outdoor concert near the zoo, mayhem erupts: “All at once the conductor erupted with rage!/ A band of wild animals was storming the stage!” Lithgow (I Got Two Dogs) describes the chaos in high-spirited verse (which he also sings on an accompanying CD): “The monkeys played fiddle, the bison played bass,/ the percussions were manned by the camel./ The yak played the sax until red in the face—/a surprisingly musical mammal.” The premise has lots of comedic potential, and Hernandez (Dog Gone!) delivers: a flautist fends off a bear and two raccoons with her music stand and, later, a blue tutu-wearing hippo blasts the tuba “by the light of the silvery moon.” Readers get an incidental introduction to various instruments, but light nonsense is this book’s raison d’être. Although some rhymes feel padded or extraneous (immediately after the concert, the animals “each reminisced, so grateful and glad,/ so full of contentment and pride”), it’s a frisky addition to the author’s oeuvre of musical picture books. Ages 2–6. Author’s agent: Lark Productions. Illustrator’s agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (Oct.)
John Lithgow is the New York Times bestselling author of I Got Two Dogs; Mahalia Mouse Goes to College; Marsupial Sue Presents: The Runaway Pancake; I’m A Manatee; Micawber; Marsupial Sue; The Remarkable Farkle McBride; and Carnival of the Animals. An award-winning actor, he has starred on stage, film, and television. He performs concerts across the country and has recorded the CDs Farkle and Friends, Singin’ in the Bathtub, and The Sunny Side of the Street. Visit John at JohnLithgow.com.
Leeza Hernandez is an illustrator whose art has been featured in magazines, newspapers, and books, including Never Play Music Right Next to the Zoo, Dog Gone!, and Eat Your Math Homework. She is the recipient of the Tomie dePaola Portfolio Award from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. In middle school, Leeza chose the flute to play for the school orchestra, but was handed a cello instead. Leeza lives in central New Jersey with her family of musical mammals.