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Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo

Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo

4.6 3
by Karma Wilson, Doug Cushman (Illustrator)

Rhyming text depicts the chaos caused by shouting at the zoo.


Rhyming text depicts the chaos caused by shouting at the zoo.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Don't even think about ignoring the title admonition, warns the unseen narrator in Wilson's (Bear Snores On) humorous cautionary tale, "because if you do... anything might happen." To underscore the message, the author adds what becomes a refrain: "Don't say I didn't warn you." Sure enough, when a scoop of ice cream falls off a young visitor's cone and she wails in despair, she not only triggers an ever-growing stampede of animals, but also ends up being locked in a cage by a wily gorilla. Wilson works hard to build a sense of mounting comic doom with repetition and alliteration: "And if the moose escapes, he might trot by the apes! All... those... apes. All those clever apes. All those clever, conniving apes that love to play practical jokes!" But author and artist rein themselves in, stopping short of conjuring an entirely manic mood. Cushman's (the Aunt Eater mysteries) marauding animals, while skillfully rendered in watercolor and pencil, are just a bit too tame and small in scale to represent a tongue-in-cheek collapse of the social order. Still, his redheaded, on-the-run heroine has a repertoire of alarmed expressions worthy of a silent movie heroine, and he makes good use of the book's horizontal format-keeping all the action on the same plane to emphasize the ever-growing chase. Ages 3-6. (Apr.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The story begins with the title warning, issued by a young girl in tears over her dropped ice cream cone. Because if you do, "anything can happen." She proceeds to describe the terrible events that could occur, in rhythmic, repetitive cadences that roll off the tongue. From a charging bear and a moose with a bad attitude, to the clever, conniving apes who steal the zookeeper's keys and set free the other beasts, we are reminded each time: "Uh-Oh! Don't say I didn't warn you!" The zany chaos ends with the animals locking up the people. But remember, "Never ever shout..." even to get out! Our heroine's visual misadventure starts on the title page as she blissfully eats her chocolate cone. The rest of the visual narrative is really an excuse for Cushman to create an accumulating parade of naturalistic creatures quite happy to be out on their own. No need for any background details except for the apes' jungle and the cage for the imprisoned humans. Watercolors and colored pencil are appropriate media to keep us giggling through the action and fun. 2004, Little Brown, Ages 3 to 6.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1-In this engaging read-aloud, a little girl stumbles, drops her ice-cream cone, and gives a frustrated cry, despite the narrator's warning to "Never, EVER shout in a zoo-/because if you do-/anything might happen." Before long, the hapless heroine is being pursued by a scary bear, a moose on the loose, escaped apes, and an ever-growing menagerie of other animals. Released from tanks and cages, the creatures exact their revenge and gleefully surround the child, locking her (and some other humans) in a pen. The last page shows the girl, who is now standing next to an exhibit of a frozen dinosaur, stifling another shout. Observers are drawn into events on the first page, where the watercolor-and-pencil illustrations simply but effectively introduce the locale and then quickly propel the action forward. Presented against broad white backgrounds, the expressive animals project a benign ferocity tempered by baffled amusement. The bouncy text makes use of alliteration, repetition, and rhyming phrases as the narrator speaks directly to the bumptious child ("Uh-oh! Don't say I didn't warn you"). This lighthearted romp disguises a slightly scary concept, as captive creatures successfully break their bonds in an otherwise familiar and "safe" setting, but the mischievous tone and predictable developments mitigate the fear factor. Pair this with Shirley Neitzel's Our Class Took a Trip to the Zoo (Greenwillow, 2002) for a silly armchair adventure.-Carol Ann Wilson, Westfield Memorial Library, NJ Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Oddly misguided work from a usually reliable illustrator sinks this cautionary monologue, written in animated rhymed prose, about the perils of startling wild animals. "Never, EVER shout in a zoo . . . because if you do . . . anything might happen. And don't say I didn't warn you," Wilson starts out-but the small wail a child emits after dropping her ice cream cone excites disproportionately wild flight from a grizzly bear and a moose, both of whom are described, but not depicted, as having bad attitudes. Then gorillas join in by hopping over the conveniently low wall that is their only restraint, freeing all the other animals, and locking up the zoo's four human visitors in a cage that proceeds as if by magic to melt away to set the stage for a contrived final joke. Young viewers might enjoy seeing zoo animals running about and laughing in triumph, but the art and text are too insecurely connected to make any sort of whole. (Picture book. 5-7)

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.75(w) x 11.37(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Karma Wilson is the author of Bear Snores On, a recent New York Times bestseller, winner of the Oppenheimer Toy Platinum Award, and an ALA Notable Children's Boook.

Doug Cushman is an award-winning illustrator with over eighty books to his credit, including the popular Aunt Eater series and the New York Times bestseller What Dads Can't Do.

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Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
might-as-well-farm More than 1 year ago
we first checked this book out at the library, and for weeks after they were still asking about the book with the "big grouchy bear". so I decided to buy it and for right now, it's the only book they ask for. My kids are 18 months & 2.5yrs. They both are equally engaged reading this book & love looking at the pics.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
My 3-year-old son LOVES this book. I like it because it uses adult words and repetition to describe the funny things that can happen if you shout in a zoo. We enjoy it so much that we bought a second copy to donate to his preschool class.