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A pleasant family outing takes a surreal turn. A little girl begins, "I went to the zoo with my mom and dad," then lists the various animals they visit. The pictures, however, tell another story. Somber gray and dark-blue-toned illustrations depict humans looking into empty cages. The girl darts away, following a peacock into a colored landscape. As her frightened parents search for her, the child plays with an increasing assortment of vividly hued animals before she is found sleeping on a bench. She finishes, "I love the zoo. It's very exciting. Mom and Dad think so too." Lee's illustrations, a complex mix of pastels, pen and ink, and collage, are full of intriguing details. At the beginning, the child is grayish like the rest of the landscape. When she is with the animals, she is depicted in color. Even after she rejoins her parents, her cheeks, coat, and single boot are a bright pink. The cover and endpaper illustrations contain important elements that inform one's interpretation of the events. Before the story begins, readers see an empty monkey house and an ape leaving through a hole in the fence to join other beckoning animals. The back cover shows the animal back in the monkey house, admiring a small pink boot. This sophisticated picture book may be best appreciated by older readers who are willing to explore its complicated visual images.
—Lucinda Snyder WhitehurstCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.