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Reviewed by Patricia Reding for Readers' Favorite
In Guess What is at the Zoo?, Nancy O'Neill delivers several short poems, each about a different zoo animal and each accompanied by an illustration from one of the “Kids Around the World.” From the furry black and white bamboo eater, to the pouch used for a baby to ride inside for “six months or so,” to the animal not to be mistaken for a horse, each poem uses simple words to key in on a specific animal’s main features. In this way, preschoolers will learn the distinguishing characteristics of a variety of zoo animals. The poems in Guess What is at the Zoo? are easy to read. It is likely they will quickly be memorized by children who will demand to hear them again and again, as they are just right to hold the interest of a little one, coming in the little snippets that they do. But, it was the pictures that most moved me.
It is stunning to see the talent of young people, aged 11 to 14, who illustrated Guess What is at the Zoo? The almost Asian feel of the panda illustration, the natural look of the skunk, the charm of the playing hippopotamuses, just by way of example, were all delightfully done. The young people whose illustrations were selected should be most proud and what a wonderful way for O’Neill to help artistically bent youngsters to explore their own possibilities and opportunities! Children, fascinated by animals, are sure to delight in the prose and accompanying illustrations of Guess What is at the Zoo?, and the young illustrators whose works are featured, are sure to learn a great deal through the publication of their own works.