The Zoo Box

Overview

When Erika and Patrick's parents leave them home alone for the night, they head straight to the attic to explore. When they open a mysterious box, hundreds of animals come pouring out! Soon the town is awash in more and more zoo animals, until Erika and Patrick discover that the tables have been turned... and the animals now run a zoo full of humans! 

With simple text and bright, graphic art, Ariel Cohn and Aron Neils Steinke have created a gentle, ...

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Overview

When Erika and Patrick's parents leave them home alone for the night, they head straight to the attic to explore. When they open a mysterious box, hundreds of animals come pouring out! Soon the town is awash in more and more zoo animals, until Erika and Patrick discover that the tables have been turned... and the animals now run a zoo full of humans! 

With simple text and bright, graphic art, Ariel Cohn and Aron Neils Steinke have created a gentle, fantastical adventure for the very youngest of readers. The Zoo Box will be a terrific introduction to comics for both learning readers and their parents. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
06/23/2014
The box that must not be opened is a tried-and-true storytelling device; Cohn and Steinke’s graphic novel–style picture book, however, is anything but formulaic. Patrick and Erika are left alone in their pajamas when their parents go out; if they behave, they can go to the zoo the next day. The siblings promptly discover a hatbox in the attic labeled “do not open,” which Patrick opens, releasing a menagerie of full-size animals that make their way to the zoo. Erika and Patrick follow, only to discover that the zoo’s visitors are animals, and the zoo animals are—“Patrick!” Erika cries, “They keep humans in this zoo!” A breathless chase scene follows (“The humans are escaping!”); Erika and Patrick manage to elude their captors and stuff everyone back into the box just in time. Cohn’s minimal text is simultaneously funny and foreboding; it’s balanced by Steinke’s doll-like figures, whose pin-dot eyes and stiff movements ease the tension. It’s not hard to see why the promise of a trip to the zoo loses its luster for Patrick and Erika; readers may think twice, too. Ages 5–7. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
". . . bright colors, bold figures, and easy-reading text in the word balloons make this book great fun for new readers, who will thrill to the chase as Erika and Patrick try to find their way home before their parents return." - Booklist

 

"Filled with brightly colored illustrations and nicely spaced speech bubbles, the book is easy to read and highly visually appealing. A terrific choice for new readers who gravitate to graphic novels but aren't quite ready for most of them yet." - School Library Journal

 

"The zoo comes to two unsuspecting children when they discover a magical, mysterious box." - Kirkus Reviews

From the Publisher
"The zoo comes to two unsuspecting children when they discover a magical, mysterious box." - Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
09/01/2014
Gr 1–3—Erika and Patrick's parents are going out for the evening, and Erika has been left in charge. Their parents promise that if they are good and in bed on time, they will earn a trip to the zoo the next day. After promising to behave, the kids head to the attic to play dress-up. Patrick stumbles across a box labeled "DO NOT OPEN." Unable to resist the temptation, he opens it and unleashes a flurry of wild animals. The creatures file out of the house and down the street, and the kids join them, disguised as a tiger and a bear. They arrive at a zoo and are stunned to realize that humans make up the exhibits! Eerily exciting and fun, this adventurous graphic-style picture book really turns the tables on the familiar, sweet, happy-ending children's book. Very Jumanji-esque, this book will be a favorite for children who like stories that are a little edgier. Filled with brightly colored illustrations and nicely spaced speech bubbles, the book is easy to read and highly visually appealing. A terrific choice for new readers who gravitate to graphic novels but aren't quite ready for most of them yet.—Amy Shepherd, St. Anne's Episcopal School, Middleton, DE
Kirkus Reviews
2014-06-25
The zoo comes to two unsuspecting children when they discover a magical, mysterious box. Young Erika, perhaps 12, and her younger brother, Patrick, are about to enjoy a night home alone, when, while playing dress-up in the attic, they happen across a curious box. The box—a hatbox with zebra stripes—is clearly labeled "DO NOT OPEN." Believing that it could be a birthday present or an old, beloved and forgotten toy, the pair disregard the label and tear into it. Imagine their surprise when a full-size ostrich bursts out, followed by an entire menagerie of zoo life. When Erika and Patrick decide to follow the animals, they find themselves in a strange, topsy-turvy zoo and must puzzle out how to get all the animals back into that tiny box. Told through wide, bright panels, this graphic-novel/picture-book hybrid will certainly conjure memories of Chris Van Allsburg's Jumanji (1981), though Cohn and Steinke's tale is much less dark and wraps up tidily, with just a shred of lingering unease. Though the story is obviously a fantasy, some readers may wonder why the parents would leave these two kids alone or why the animals would willingly and easily re-enter the box. However, sometimes it's better to just enjoy the ride and leave all the details to the grown-ups. A nimble offering for those not quite ready for Jumanji. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781626720527
  • Publisher: First Second
  • Publication date: 7/15/2014
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 452,362
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke live in Portland, Oregon, with their son, Marlen, and their three rambunctious cats. Apart from dreaming up stories for children, Ariel is a trained Montessori preschool teacher and metalsmith. Aron is a second and third grade teacher by day and cartoonist by night. All summer long you will find them in the forests of Oregon, eating wild berries and jumping in waterfalls!  The Zoo Box is their most recent graphic novel. 

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