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If I Ran the Zoo - Dr. Seuss

January 9, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

The Digital Media Diet

Another great digital Seuss book with timeless appeal ...

Published in print in 1950, If I Ran The Zoo, is a Dr. Seuss classic. Young Gerald McGrew decides the exotic animals in the regular zoo are just not interesting enough. If he ran the zoo, he says he would let all the animals out of their cages in favor of a whole set of new creatures, including a ten footed lion and a bird that only eats custard (with sauce made of mustard). Whimsical storytelling, told in rhyme, make this classic Seuss tale appealing decades later, along with great digital enhancements perfect for a modern audience.

For the read-a-long effect, each word is highlighted as it is narrated. Tap on any word to hear it spoken, even in the 'read-it-myself' mode. Most of the Dr. Seuss books are great for children learning to read because they are filled with simple words and while this title goes beyond 'sight' words it should be an enjoyable read for kids 6 and up. For younger kids (and adults who would rather listen instead of getting tongue tied), narration is a great option.

Although each page is essentially a still image, many pages begin by panning over Seuss' classic original artwork, zooming in and out to show off each segment of text, a nice semi-animated style.  The digital versions of Dr. Seuss books, by Oceanhouse Media, have no real animation, although most of the items pictured in the story react to a light tap. A visual image of the word with accompanying audio appears (for example, tap on the illustration of a boat and the word "boat" appears with audio saying “boat”). If the word is also present in the text, it highlights there as well, providing lots of visual reinforcement for young readers.

Overall this is a great title, lacking only a page guide to make navigation easier. If you love Dr. Seuss, there are lots of digital titles available as apps in almost any format, and this is one more great choice. While it's a bit long for bedtime reading, this title is a lot of fun and is particularly nice to have narrated. Reading many Seuss books aloud, like this one, can sometimes be challenging, so it's a real treat to listen to the perfect pronunciations of all the Seussisms.

All reviews are of the app, not the platform/device. Based originally on iPad versions. Minor technical details may vary.


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If I Ran the Zoo - Dr. Seuss

January 9, 2012

By: Carisa Kluver

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Dr. Seuss

Oceanhouse Media, Inc.

Length (time):
12 - 15 Minutes

Based on non-digital book: Yes

Allows Own Narration:

Uses Motion: No

Age: 3 - 8

English •

Length (pages):
58 Pages


Story Synopsis - If I Ran the Zoo - Dr. Seuss

Summary of print version from Amazon.com: "It's a pretty good zoo," said young Gerald McGrew, "and the fellow who runs it seems proud of it, too." But if Gerald ran the zoo, the New Zoo, McGrew Zoo, he'd see to making a change or two: "So I'd open each cage. I'd unlock every pen, let the animals go, and start over again." And that's just what Gerald imagines, as he travels the world in this playfully illustrated Dr. Seuss classic (first published back in 1950), collecting all sorts of beasts "that you don't see every day." From the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant to the blistering sands of the Desert of Zind, Gerald hunts down every animal imaginable ("I'll catch 'em in countries no one can spell, like the country of Motta-fa-Potta-fa-Pell"). Whether it's a scraggle-foot Mulligatawny or a wild-haired Iota (from "the far western part of south-east North Dakota"), Gerald amazes the world with his new and improved zoo: "This Zoo Keeper, New Keeper's simply astounding! He travels so far that you think he would drop! When do you suppose this young fellow will stop?"

But Gerald's weird and wonderful globe-trotting safari doesn't end a moment too soon: "young McGrew's made his mark. He's built a zoo better than Noah's whole Ark!" Some of the text and illustrations--imaginative as they are--are obviously dated, such as the following passage: "I'll hunt in the mountains of Zomba-ma-Tant/ With helpers who all wear their eyes at a slant,/ And capture a fine fluffy bird called the Bustard/ Who only eats custard with sauce made of mustard." And your children may be the first to recognize that attitudes have changed since the xenophobic '50s. But that doesn't mean this tale need be discarded; instead, it should be discussed. Ironically, Seuss was trying here--in his wild, explosive, and sometimes careless manner--to celebrate the joys of unconventionality and the bliss of liberation!


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Orientation: Landscape

Format: Universal


Auto-Play, Read-it-myself, Read-to-me, Sound Effects, Sound On/Off, Links to: AppStore, Web, FB, Twitter, Email

App Release Date:


Size: 19.73 MB

Version: 1.08

Lite Version Available: No



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