PreS-Gr 2--The cut-and-paste, handmade look and feel of this picture book underscores its thematic ode to creative problem solving. Little T is about to embark on a much-anticipated trip to the zoo with her family when she freezes up with fear. Her parents call time-out and undertake a laugh-out-loud, over-the-top attempt to pinpoint exactly which animal she seems to be afraid of. Utilizing household objects, recyclables, clothing, and everyday art materials, Mom, Dad, and sister construct a madcap, A-to-Z range of costumes to determine which creature could possibly be thwarting T's desire to go to the zoo. "Does it jump in the road?" asks Mom, holding V-shaped tongs to her head simulating deer's antlers; "Does it live in the tropics?" asks Dad, crawling around the floor in an iguana costume constructed with cardboard tubes and paper bags. And so on until nightfall, when T declares her fears banished and now wants to go to the zoo. (Who wouldn't, after all those entertaining theatrics?) But when they arrive the next day, an encounter with a certain zoo employee sends T's sister into a panic, an ironic twist to T's resolution of her own fears. The charming, detailed watercolor and ink illustrations really tell the story, and children will relish poring over them to guess the animal costumes and identify their construction materials. Pair this with titles such as Antoinette Portis's Not a Box (2006) and Not a Stick (2007, both HarperCollins) to jump-start kids' own creative juices.--Kathleen Finn, St. Francis Xavier School, Winooski, VTCopyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Debut talent Heder comes up with a wildly imaginative idea for an alphabet book/animal guessing game, elaborates it with smartly drafted ink-and-watercolor spreads, and seasons it with plenty of family warmth and hullaballoo. Little T's mother, father, and older sister discover that she's reluctant to go the zoo, and they throw themselves into figuring out which animal she's frightened of. Adorning themselves with common household objects, they go right through the alphabet. "Can it give itself showers?" her hyper older sister asks, with two plastic bags on her ears and her arm held up like an elephant's trunk for E. "Maybe it's pink?" asks her father, skipping across the room in a pink tutu and pink Post-its stuck to his fingers, a fetching flamingo F. The picture of a family working together to cheer up its tiniest member, the identifiable elements of all the costumes, and the unexpected creature that Little T actually fears (a middle-aged ticket taker with menacing fingernails) all ring true--and readers will come away with some fine animal costume ideas, too. Ages 4-8. Agent: Stephen Barr, Writers House. (Nov.)Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.