I’d put this one right up there alongside of The Very Hungry Caterpillar on the baby registry. It’s simple yet you can share it in different ways based on your bookworm’s age, starting with the very youngest bookworms!
Each Thursday I’ll be featuring a book that my parents *could* have read to me as a child (spoiler alert: I’m no spring chicken), so we will go with a publication date of 1988 or earlier; all books must still be in print as of my writing.
Title/author: Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book by Rod Campbell
Copyright date: 1982
Plot in a Sentence (or two): After asking the zoo to send a pet, the protagonist receives various zoo animals, each of which is sent back until the perfect pet arrives.
Why It’s Timeless: Surprisingly enough this classic board book was not in our family’s collection until this Christmas (here’s the list of books we received as gifts this year). I’m so glad we own it now! Baby Bookworm adores the flaps (with supervision; I learned recently that he’s not ready for independent reading of books with “weaknesses,” i.e. flaps). The simplicity of the story is perfect for Preschool Bookworm who is working on memorizing it to read to Baby Bookworm. And, lift-the-flap books are great for the littlest bookworms who are working on mastering object permanence (typically babies start working on this around 6-9 months).
While You’re Reading: When reading with Preschool Bookworm, I pause three times on each page, eliciting the proper response from him– to allow him to guess which animal will be revealed behind the flaps (“lion!”), to allow him to supply the adjective that makes the animal unsuitable as a pet (“he was too fierce“), and before the refrain (“I sent him back“). The pattern and predictability are perfect for bookworms who are working on expressive language! When reading with Baby Bookworm, I show him subtly where the flap folds from (they vary on each page, adding depth to the reading experience for your bookworms) and allow him to fully reveal the animal before saying its name. The flaps are perfect for the attention spans of the littlest bookworms.
Just for Fun: Check out the Dear Zoo and Friends website for activities- animal masks, matching games, “spot the difference” page, dot-to-dot sheet, and more.
Dear Zoo should be readily available at your local library, or at the Amazon affiliate link provided.