Zoopa: An Animal Alphabet

Overview

Open the pages of this lively book and discover a bowl of animal alphabet soup sure to spark children's imaginations. From the tiny ant on the front endpapers to the exuberant zebra in the final spread, children will delight in the mischievous menagerie that bursts onto the table, while at the same time learning their letters and animals. Filled with imaginative details, it is a visual feast from start to finish.
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Overview

Open the pages of this lively book and discover a bowl of animal alphabet soup sure to spark children's imaginations. From the tiny ant on the front endpapers to the exuberant zebra in the final spread, children will delight in the mischievous menagerie that bursts onto the table, while at the same time learning their letters and animals. Filled with imaginative details, it is a visual feast from start to finish.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The best ABC books make you think, and the wordless ZOOPA: AN ANIMAL ALPHABET, by first-time children's book author Gianna Marino, asks a great deal of its readers." -The New York Times Book Review

this lively, engaging debut, an alphabetical menagerie, drawn naturalistically but with big, expressive eyes and mobile features, gathers around (or, sometimes, in) a bowl of tomato-colored alphabet soup...A great choice for self-starters or small groups." -Kirkus Reviews

"A lively choice for group or one-on-one sharing." -School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly
Marino, an illustrator and toy designer, opens her wordless debut work with a seemingly pedestrian bowl of soup poised on a blue-checkered tablecloth. But as noodle letters begin to emerge from the broth, they magically draw out a corresponding animal or insect (some aquatic critters, such as J's jellyfish, prefer to dive right in). The pages reflect a wide range of probability. An ant and butterfly, for A and B, respectively, don't seem like a stretch, but for other letters, a parade of puppies emerges from the place mat, a ring of tiny elephants from the rim of the bowl itself. By the time the 26th letter is ready to be introduced, the table has erupted into a visually comic cacophony, egged on by Marino's gleeful disregard for realistic scale. A zebra ties up the loose end by performing a cannonball into the middle of the meal. The animal portraits are not entirely accomplished or consistent; some feel wooden and underrealized, while others verge on coy cartoons. But Marino's concept is well orchestrated, and her decision to eschew any text should encourage youngsters to spend extra time on each spread, searching for ways in which the animals cavort around the bowl the monkey and chipmunk seem to particularly enjoy making mischief with the other letter representatives. Alphabet soup will never look the same. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Believe it or not, here is a fresh approach to alphabet books. This has no text, only upper-case letters that appear in a large bowl of soup, two or more at a time, along with a picture of some creature beginning with the letters. The new letters arrive large, but then shrink and join the others in turn, while the soup gets ever more crowded with letters and the corresponding creatures crowd the tablecloth and table on which the bowl rests. Their actions become ever more frantic in the crowd, climaxing as the zebra gallops directly toward the reader and W, X, Y and Z cannot quite make it into the bowl. The front end-papers start the fun showing a bird's-eye view of the bowl of soup and a single ant. The end pages picture a broken bowl and the cloth a mess of footprints and splashes. On the pages in between, Marino manages to accumulate her cast of characters in the wide range of activity using gouache to provide solidity of forms. Even the bowl's decorative border of elephants, and the puppies on the cloth, get into the action. In case of puzzlement after the wild ending, the last pages bring everyone together calmly—complete with labels. Lift the dust jacket for a surprise. 2005, Chronicle Books, Ages 3 to 6.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A bowl of tomato soup is the vehicle for introducing the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding animals. Beginning with a playful ant and an orange-and-purple butterfly, two to three animals and their first letters are introduced on each spread. As the menagerie multiplies, the creatures move around the pages, sometimes interacting with humorous results. The frog extends its long pink tongue toward the tasty ant; a few spreads later, the iguana's tongue angles lustily after the same unsuspecting insect, which is trying to hide behind the lizard's front leg. While many of the critters are obvious and familiar, some, like the quail, vulture, xenops, or yak, may need to be identified on the final pages, where each animal is labeled. Readers will also have to hunt for some that are cleverly hidden, like the elephants that suddenly appear as a border pattern around the edge of a bowl and the unicorn etched on a spoon. The playful gouache illustrations depict the colorful crew having as much fun as readers will surely have identifying them. A lively choice for group or one-on-one sharing.-Barbara Auerbach, New York City Public Schools Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this lively, engaging debut, an alphabetical menagerie, drawn naturalistically but with big, expressive eyes and mobile features, gathers around (or, sometimes, in) a bowl of tomato-colored alphabet soup. Marino draws viewers into an increasingly challenging search-and-find game, as each new letter appearing in the soup signals the arrival of another animal, many of which are subtly incorporated into the scene. With "E" for instance, the soup bowl's plain rim suddenly sports an "elephant" motif, and even expert Waldo Watchers will take a few moments to spot the tiny "unicorn" that shows up on the spoon's handle at "U." With larger entrants peering in from the page's edge and smaller ones bounding about, the action gets more and more frenetic, until in a fitting climax an exuberant zebra explodes out of the soup itself-prelude to a closing visual key that will be a big help to children a little hazy on their Hedgehogs, Nanny goats and Xenops birds. A great choice for self-starters or small groups. (Picture book. 4-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811847896
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 9/1/2005
  • Pages: 36
  • Age range: 1 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Gianna Marino has been a full-time illustrator, toy designer, and writer in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last fourteen years, working on numerous projects including children's book illustrations. She has had an interest in animals since early childhood and has been painting since she could hold a brush.
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