Skip to main content

The Way to the Zoo by John Burningham


Once again, John Burningham gives us a brilliant picture book that perfectly captures the imagination and internal life of a child. The Way to the Zoo hits the shelves as the 50th anniversary of Chitty Chitty Ban Bang is being celebrated, marking an amazingly long and fruitful career that I hope will continue on.


In The Way to the Zoo we meet Sylvie, who, just before she falls asleep, discovers a door in the wall of her bedroom that wasn't there before. She decides to take a look at in in the morning, but she is late for school and forgets about it until it's time for bed. When she finally gets around to investigating, she discovers a ong corridor that leads to a heavy door that leads to the zoo!


Sylvie invites a little bear to come back with her and sleep in her bed. The next night, it's a koala bear and a little bear. All the animals want to come to Sylvie's room, but she only brings the small ones, much to the sadness of the elephant, who bursts into tears. But one day, Sylvie forgets to close the door before leaving for school and she comes home to a house full of animals. Sylvie gets very upset and sends the animals home then spends the rest of the afternoon cleaning. But, her mother still comes home and tells her that it "looks like you had the whole zoo in here!"


Burningham is brilliant because he's so matter-of-fact with his storytelling. As the Kirkus review so eloquently put it, "Burningham's appeal lies in his ability to invent a fantasy scenario available only to young children, accomplishing it again here with consummate grace."











Comments

This sounds wonderful. I love how he sticks to an old-fashioned look with his work and also how, as you say, it's matter of fact in its fantasy. So good.
Tanya said…
I've read it four or five times this week to classes visiting the library and I am not tired of it! I love telling the kids that Burningham has been writing and illustrating picture books since before I was born and that this is his newest!

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo Cabret) The Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…