What Do You Do If You Work at the Zoo?

by Steve Jenkins (Author)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
From Caldecott Honor-winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page comes an early introduction to one of young readers' favorite places: the zoo! Going to the zoo is so exciting! You might see penguins swimming underwater, snakes sunning in the reptile house, or giraffes eating leaves out of high trees. You might even see people at the zoo, ones just like you! But what do those people do? Caldecott Honor-winning team Steve Jenkins and Robin Page introduce young readers to the people who keep zoo animals safe, healthy, and happy, even though they aren't in the wild habitats they've evolved for. From cuddling a baby kangaroo to trimming elephant toenails to playing soccer with a rhino, zookeepers work hard and do some pretty wacky things to take care of the incredible animals we see. So, what would you do if you were in the zookeeper's shoes? Turn the page and find out!

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Kirkus Reviews

A menagerie of facts about the many jobs to do at the zoo. Jenkins and Page present readers with an amuse-bouche look at a zookeeper’s day in this informational picture book. The premise greatly simplifies the many roles of a zoo’s staff under the rubric “zookeeper” and follows several humans (depicted mostly as disembodied hands in a variety of skin tones) as they perform unusual tasks for birds, mammals, and reptiles. Each fact alone is fodder for a picture book. In short, second-person paragraphs, readers learn that joeys that must be raised without their mothers are carried in cloth pouches that emulate those of a kangaroo; that aardvark ears are sensitive to the sun and may require the application of sunscreen; and that hyenas enjoy frozen bloodsicles on hot days. The backmatter includes a brief timeline of zoo history, locations of and facts about notable zoos, pros and cons of keeping animals captive, and an additional paragraph of information about each animal discussed. Jenkins’ collage illustrations will be familiar to fans, and the balance of image to white space is visually well suited for classroom or group readers. The facts are intriguing enough to prompt new animal enthusiasms among young readers, so educators and caregivers should be prepared to use this book as a springboard for further exploration. Delightful fare for animal lovers. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Booklist

Caldecott Honor Book collaborators Jenkins and Page describe some of the many tasks of zookeepers in this latest offering. They go beyond the obvious answer, “feeding the animals,” to detail some specific tasks: cuddling a joey, shining a tortoise’s shell, brushing a hippo’s teeth, and picking up panda poop. For each scenario, they offer a catchy verb phrase (“tickle a tapir”), provide a paragraph of explanation (wild tapirs scratch to remove ticks, but in captivity they enjoy having their fur raked), and include full-color artwork appropriate to the discussion. The varied illustrations, featuring this team’s signature colored-paper collage, include close-ups (an elephant pedicure), spot art, and scenes that span beyond a page turn (five zookeepers stand on scales holding a python to determine its weight). The last four pages comprise a detailed appendix offering zoo pros and cons, a history of these facilities, a listing of top zoos, and further information about each cited species. Clever, engaging, and always informative, this will be welcomed by animal-lovers and fans of this duo. — Kay Weisman

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 3--Jenkins and Page explain the duties of a zookeeper in a simple and intriguing way. Multiple zookeepers are shown in action but are only identified by their hands (varying skin colors are shown). Each page features a different animal accompanied by an informative paragraph. Readers will learn that a wild tapir rubs its body against a tree to remove ticks and that pandas eat almost nothing but bamboo. Zookeepers are also portrayed giving milk bottles to giraffes and manatees that may have been separated from their mothers by illness or natural disaster. Textured collage illustrations bring the animals to life and create a sense of authenticity. The back matter includes a historical time line, information on the world's top zoos, the pros and cons of zoos, and solid facts and statistics about each animal mentioned in the story. VERDICT Recommended for general purchase. Young readers will learn about an underrepresented profession in this title, which also encourages a love of animals.--Kristen Todd-Wurm, Middle Country Public Library, NY

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Delightful fare for animal lovers."—Kirkus

"Caldecott Honor Book collaborators Jenkins and Page describe some of the many tasks of zookeepers in this latest offering.... Clever, engaging, and always informative, this will be welcomed by animal-lovers and fans of this duo." —​Booklist

"Textured collage illustrations bring the animals to life and create a sense of authenticity.... Young readers will learn about an underrepresented profession in this title, which also encourages a love of animals." —School Library Journal
Steve Jenkins
Steve Jenkins has written and illustrated many nonfiction picture books for young readers, including the Caldecott Honor-winning What Do You Do with a Tail Like This? His books have been called stunning, eye-popping, inventive, gorgeous, masterful, extraordinary, playful, irresistible, compelling, engaging, accessible, glorious, and informative. He lives in Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and frequent collaborator, Robin Page.
www.stevejenkinsbooks.com.

Robin Page lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her husband and collaborator Steve Jenkins. Along with writing and illustrating children's books, Steve and Robin run a graphic design studio.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9780544387591
Lexile Measure
900L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publication date
April 20, 2020
Series
-

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