Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Anniversary of the 1st U.S. Zoo

On July 1, 1874, The Philadelphia Zoological Society, the first U.S. zoo, opened. Three thousand visitors traveled by foot, horse and carriage, and steamboat to visit the exhibits. Price of admission was 25 cents for adults and 10 cents for children. There were 1,000 animals in the zoo on opening day.
Ipcizade, Catherine.
'Twas the Day Before Zoo Day.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

This adaptation of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas is sure to having children laughing! The zookeepers are in the midst of preparing for "Zoo Day," or the day when the school children will be visiting the zoo for their field trip. The holding areas must be cleaned... the animals, too, despite all their mischief!
'Twas the day before Zoo Day, when all 'round the park,
the creatures felt restless and wished it were dark.
Zoo keepers all scurried to get things prepared.
Flamingos stood antsy on one leg and stared.

Soon the kids would arrive; their cameras they'd bring.
The monkeys - they practiced to dance and to sing.
Kids like to watch monkeys, and everyone know,
that monkeys, like children, hand down from their toes.

This book is really fun! The rhyming text along with the somewhat predictable nature (if children are familiar with 'Twas the Night Before Christmas) and illustrations (for use of context clues) make the book perfect for beginning readers. I could totally see using this book with a group of kindergarten, first or second graders if they are taking a field trip to the zoo. The teaching activities provided by Sylvan Dell give teachers almost an entire weeks worth of morning work activities that would be perfect for the week leading up to a zoo field trip - writing prompts, word searches, Who Am I? riddles, silly sentences (nouns, adjectives), animal sorting activities, zoo vocabulary, Venn diagrams... Definitely worth checking out!
Lesson Plans/Reading Activities:
Hensel, Boots.
The Zoopendous Surprise.
May 2009.
Pleasant St. Press.

Mary and Ellen, the Asian Elephants are expecting a surprise. The zookeepers arrive and set up a table and carry in a big box - none of the other animals are willing to let on what the surprise is... but soon enough, Mary and Ellen and all of us readers find out! Mary and Ellen are celebrating their birthday! Mary and Ellen then get a chance to join in on keeping surprises, as they refuse to tell their friends what they wished for.
"What did you wish for?" screeches Mahale.
"Yes! We want to know!" cries BJ.
"Tell us your wish!" roar Nyla and Sydney.
"Tell! Tell!" hoots Einstein.

Mary and Ellen hook their tails together and flap their ears.
They are as happy as two elephant friends can be.
"We can't tell!" they trumpet. "It's a surprise!"
This is a cute story... it would make a great birthday read. I could also see using this as an introduction for a writing prompt with younger students - If you could wish for one thing - anything in the world - what would it be and why?

Slade, Suzanne.
What's New At The Zoo?: An Animal Adding Adventure.
June 2009.
Sylvan Dell Publishing.

This is another example of the wonderful Sylvan Dell Publishing! I personally love books where kids learn as they're reading... the majority of books allow readers learn while they're reading, but few actually have that as a goal when the initial writing begins! This book teaches addition in a simple, fun way that disguises the actual process of learning while a story is being told... Love, love, love it!

A mother and her young son set out to the zoo for an adventure. Mom has a plan in mind, but to her young son, it's just like any other trip to the zoo!
Let's go on an animal adventure,
how many live in the zoo?
We'll add up each creature -
moms, dads, and their new babies, too!
A story is told about each animal they visit at the zoo and then the reader is prompted with a simple addition problem.
Four mama monkeys
swinging in a tree - each holds an infant.
How many do you see?

Three mammoth boas
plus two neonates
loop around the branches.
How many figure eights?
Not only are readers getting practice with addition, they're also learning about the names of the baby animals as well. This is a great book for animal lovers... and might even inspire a field trip to the zoo this summer! Check out the learning activities below, provided by Sylvan Dell!

Lesson Plans/Reading Activities:
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to


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Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks for these wonderful reviews, Katie! All of us at Sylvan Dell Publishing appreciate the support! I will definitely pass these reviews on to the authors/illustrators!