From Random House Books, this is an exceptional title about a librarian who accidentally drives the bookmobile into the zoo. Determined to inspire a love of reading in her patrons, regardless of their species, Ms. McGrew finds titles for every last animal and even teaches them about how to care for books properly. This whimsical storyline is one that kids will love and identify with too, since young children are often as hard on their books as any monkey in the zoo!
Wild About Books was first published in print in 2004. Author Judy Sierra dedicated the book to Doctor Seuss and it was published on what would have been his 100th birthday. Several places in the book make subtle reference to Geisel, too, including the name of the librarian ("McGrew" was the last name of the boy in If I ran the Zoo), the city (Springfield, MA was where Dr. Seuss grew up with a father who was on the board of the local zoo) and even a scene where Molly is reading to the animals from The Cat in the Hat.
As a digital title, the enhancements are spectacular, showing an animated 3D scene where each page of the app opens up like a pop-up book. The interactive elements are also a lot of fun, but not terribly related to the story. Animals make noise and animate in cute ways that will engage young readers, however, making this a very fun read & play storybook. Text highlights with the delightful narration, but it is very small, making this the one issue I'd suggest for an update.
Overall, this is a book I'd recommend for any digital collection. It was a wonderful title in print and even more fun in digital. Well-crafted, rhyming text plus the fabulous illustrations of Marc Brown round out this lovely app. Highly Recommended!
All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.
Judy Sierra/Marc Brown
Random House Digital, Inc.
6 - 8 Minutes
Based on non-digital book: Yes
Allows Own Narration:
Uses Motion: No
Age: 4 - 9
Molly McGrew is a librarian driving the bookmobile and one day she mistakenly parks in the zoo, offering books to the animals. To get the wild creatures interested in books, Molly reads to them from Dr. Seuss ... and soon she is surrounded by curious wildlife. She discovers that each different animal species likes different kinds of books. Pandas like books in Chinese and the otter needs waterproof books, since he never goes 'swimming with out Harry Potter'.
Every animal finds a story to please their tastes, showing how well Molly knows her job. She does have to teach them to take care of the books (the termites are a bit of a problem - how can they read a book if they eat it so quickly). But Molly isn't discouraged, eventually inspiring the animals to not only read, but to tell their own stories ... making a wonderful connection for young readers about the power of storytelling.
This transition to writing their own stories doesn't phase Molly one bit ... she gets a team together from the animals to build a branch library, right at the zoo. "Three cheers for the Zoobrary - Hip, Hip Hooray!"