Customer Reviews: Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book
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on January 3, 2000
My daughter has loved this book from the very beginning. She was fascinated by the animals revealed when I lifted the flaps, and then had a great time learning how to lift the flaps herself as she grew older. She's a year old now and brings it to me to read to her more than any other book that we have. She gets a kick out of the animal sounds we make when we lift the flaps, too. It's the only lift-the-flap book we have that she hasn't managed to tear off any flaps. I think this book has been instrumental in showing her how much fun books can be - I highly recommend it.
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on June 12, 2015
I love this book! It's so creatively written and even makes me giggle. The critters behind the flaps make it even more exciting for my nephew.
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This is a great early book. The zoo sends various animals as a pet but they are all unsuitable for some reason (the giraffe is too tall, the monkey is too naughty etc). Finally they send the perfect present: a puppy! The language is simple (in fact, this book was recommended to me by a speech pathologist) and the humor is perfect for the 2-4 age group. My son loves lifting up the flaps and making noises for all the different animals hidden below. The flaps are also cleverly illustrated so that enough of the animal is visible to allow the child to guess which one is being sent. I must have read it to my son more than 100 times but neither of us are tired of it yet!
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on January 17, 2016
Every page of this horrible little book features an animal that the narrator "sent back" to the zoo because it wasn't quite right: too tall, too grumpy, too naughty, etc. No child, but especially no adopted/foster child needs to hear the message, repeated ad nauseum, that anyone is getting "sent back." It might be a classic but it should stay in the past. Fortunately I auditioned this one before my daughter could really understand. I tore it up and recycled it. You should too.
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on July 1, 2015
My son loves "peek a boo" books. I bought this one for him, but I hate the story line. It's all about animals being too much of something and getting sent back. The giraffe is too tall, the monkey is too naughty.
I don't like how negative the story is. It's possible I'm being too sensitive. I don't want to read books to my son (who happens to have special needs) about being rejected for being too much of something--I really think that's sending the wrong message.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 22, 2005
This book is okay. Others raved about it but my three year old son found it boring. The reason I think is that he *wasn't* introduced to this book as a baby or toddler. First books generally tend to remain favorites, so my advice would be not to buy this for a Preschooler. A baby or young toddler would probably like it fine.


-- Pretty sturdy flaps that open from different sides. This feature helps young children exercise both their memory and fine motor skills (little fingers)

-- 17 pages including the title page. I know the description says 24, but they must be counting blank pages and the covers pages.

-- Interesting subject for babies and toddlers.

-- Text is repetitive and helps with baby and toddler memory and prediction.


-- For Preschoolers content is boring. The eight animals chosen are 'old hat' by the time most children hit the 2 to 3 range. Animals are: Elephant, giraffe, lion, camel, snake, monkey, frog, dog.

-- There is no rhyme in the text. Rhyme is one way to teach young children about how words work in similar ways.

--Text generally (after the first page) runs along the lines of "So they sent me a ..." to which the answer is something like "He was too ___ ! I sent him back." [The animal that was kept was a puppy.]

Three Stars. Average book in a large field of similar products. "Dear Zoo" seems sturdy (we borrowed ours from the library and one would assume it has seen lots of use) and the drawings are so simple that babies won't have a problem focusing on the subject animal.

Take a look at Amazon's "Search inside this book" feature for an example of text and artwork ("Surprise Me").
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on January 28, 2011
I have three daughters 18 month ,3 and 5 years old. My 18 month old can't get enough of this cute book. She is so excited every time she open one of the flaps. This book is simple enough for my 5 yr old to read it and my 3year old makes great sound effects for each flap. I recommend for 3 month the about age 6.
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Tis the ultimate interactive story for the young `uns. An unseen narrator (who we assume must be a child of some sort) narrates a tale of unprecedented zooish generosity. After asking the zoo for a pet, a series of animals are sent in the hope that the child will want them. Unfortunately (and as the book makes clear) many of animals one finds at the zoo are inappropriate pets. Each animal that arrives is hidden beneath a flap. When you lift the flap the children to whom you are reading this tale are supposed to delightedly cry out the name of that particular animal. In this way, you can teach kids the kinds of animals that live at the zoo. For the narrator, though, elephants are too big, lions too fierce, monkeys to naughty, and frogs too jumpy. In the end, the narrator receives a small hamper with the note, "From all your friends at the zoo" containing the perfect pet.
As an early book, this story and its accompanying illustrations are very very simple. I was a little disappointed at the flimsiness of the flaps children are supposed to lift or turn. The copy I paged through had been scotch taped and re-scotch taped several times to keep the book in any kind of semblance of order. It is also a pity that the animals in this book aren't named ever. I don't doubt that kids will, mostly, be able to name them anyway, but it's nice to learn to read the names along with the pictures of the animals. Still, the book is satisfying to read. No subtext here. Nuh-uh. Just a very basic story about a zoo, some friendly animals, and the reasons (or lack there of) of keeping them. For another interesting and enjoyable zoo book, try "Good Night, Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann (a personal pet favorite of mine).
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on March 31, 2014
Just two weeks after we started reading this book to our son every other night, he started jerking his head to the side and smiling so widely if we'd quote a line from it during the day time. I think it's because this book is so memorable due to the repetition. Each page starts off with an attempt to get an animal as a pet, and the discovery of that pet (behind a shipping box, zoo bars, basket, etc.), and then why it won't work out.

For example:

"I wrote to the zoo to send me a pet.
They sent me an...

[turn page to open large flap with a box pictured on it and hiding an elephant behind it]
[child or you screams out "ELEPHANT!"]

"He was too big!
I sent him back."

And the list of other animals goes on until the perfect animal is found...

It is true that there is no rhyming on each page. However, there is some rhyming. For instance, the camel is described as too grumpy, and then a couple of animals later, the frog is described as too jumpy. Further, the repetition of the book sets up the child's expectation--every page is the same except for the animal's name and the one adjective characteristic as to why the animal didn't work out. As mentioned, at least in our case, our child clearly knew this book just based on a handful of readings, and he continues to love reading it to this day. This, along with Little Blue Truck, are still are go-to books and are absolutely recommended even for the smallest of babies.

Also, I totally didn't get the point of "board books" until this book came along... but now I get it. We bought the regular book (not the board book), and here's the problem with that: our son LOVES to grab at the "doors" that hide the animals, so much so that the doors are starting to rip off. So, my suggestion is that you buy the board book version so that you won't have to worry about little fingers prying off flimsy little doors!
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on April 16, 2004
I've read this book to my daughter since she was four months old. She really likes looking at the pictures and flaps. Other books, even classics like "The Runaway Bunny," have too many words to interest her, but this one has a very short, succinct story and great pictures.
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