From School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-The cut-and-paste, handmade look and feel of this picture book underscores its thematic ode to creative problem solving. Little T is about to embark on a much-anticipated trip to the zoo with her family when she freezes up with fear. Her parents call time-out and undertake a laugh-out-loud, over-the-top attempt to pinpoint exactly which animal she seems to be afraid of. Utilizing household objects, recyclables, clothing, and everyday art materials, Mom, Dad, and sister construct a madcap, A-to-Z range of costumes to determine which creature could possibly be thwarting T's desire to go to the zoo. "Does it jump in the road?" asks Mom, holding V-shaped tongs to her head simulating deer's antlers; "Does it live in the tropics?" asks Dad, crawling around the floor in an iguana costume constructed with cardboard tubes and paper bags. And so on until nightfall, when T declares her fears banished and now wants to go to the zoo. (Who wouldn't, after all those entertaining theatrics?) But when they arrive the next day, an encounter with a certain zoo employee sends T's sister into a panic, an ironic twist to T's resolution of her own fears. The charming, detailed watercolor and ink illustrations really tell the story, and children will relish poring over them to guess the animal costumes and identify their construction materials. Pair this with titles such as Antoinette Portis's Not a Box (2006) and Not a Stick (2007, both HarperCollins) to jump-start kids' own creative juices.-Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VTα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A big sister is going bonkers because it’s a perfect day to go to the zoo, but her younger sister, Little T, is afraid. Afraid of what? She can’t quite remember, but it’s at the zoo. Mom, Dad, and the big sister launch a campaign to jog Little T’s memory with some extremely inventive props. A giant jellyfish made of an umbrella and streamers jiggles overhead. A cardboard rhinoceros charges. A snake with a vacuum-powered hiss slithers up. None of the animals manage to scare Little T, who thus determines that a trip to the zoo might not be so bad. Once they arrive, however, a scary surprise awaits, but this time it’s Little T’s big sister running away. That’s OK, though, because there’s a zoo’s worth of handcrafted fun waiting at home. Heder tells a child-relevant story about facing your fears with a light hand and zippy prose, but it’s her art that dials the zippiness up to 11, as her warm and humorously realistic figures gallivant alongside some remarkably envisioned handcrafted animal puppets. Grades K-2. --Jesse Karp